30th Elint, the Star Walkers Return

This evening we’ve arrived in Triboar, after leaving Westbridge in the morning. Its a larger town than the last few we’ve been through of late, around two thousand or so people here I think.

We have gotten rooms in one of the inns in town, but not before trying ‘the best’ place, the ‘Everwyvern Inn’ Not only is the proprietor a snooty noble, Draven, that is too good for ‘riff raff’ like us, even when Luke put on the charm and convinced him he was a noble and we were his bodyguards, he wanted 25 gold per person and 10 gold per plate of food!

He suggested we die in a ditch when we baulked. I hope he chokes on his rich food and fine wine.

Luke’s kindly shouted us rooms at what I guess is Triboars ‘second best’ inn, run by a Urgala Meltimer. She seems kind enough, and we’ve found the rooms to be to our liking.

1st Marpenoth, the Star Walkers Return

The coffee here at Northsheild House is good. Luke has put down 3 so far - he seems rather tired this morning. I wonder if the lodging is not agreeing with him, or if our ‘friend’ Draven will find his purse lighter this morning?

I set off to talk to the Lord Protector, Darathra whilst the others prepared to ride out. Before I got to meet with her, I overheard two brothers unhappily leaving her office. The got talking to me, with a sad tale indeed! They say their brother disappeared ten years ago, with his wife saying he run off with a younger woman. The brothers have never been happy with that explanation, and have recently come across information from a priest staying in town. This priest is saying that he is still at home and never left the rudding house!

Whilst the others may not be happy to stay, I’ve agreed to look into it - but suggested the brothers may not like the outcome.

After showing Darathra my Hapers pin, she has been very helpful. She informed me that there is an inn in town, the ‘Frost-Touched Frog’ that is abandoned, information useful for Arelosa. Giants have been active in the area, along with more barbarians and notherners. Doesn’t know about the ordning and suggests we ask around in inns/town about it.

She’s also interested in me helping out the brothers as she can’t spare the manpower to look into it. She will ask her outrunners for information and has suggested we stay in town for a few days. Upon pressing her about the activity around Mirabar she has confirmed the city has a new Marchion, by the name of Selin. I wonder what motivation Hislen has for putting him in the chair?

More interestingly, she’s let me know that apparently there is a large number of dwarves leaving the northern towns. From all over Mirabar, Mithril Hall, Citadel Felbarr, Citadel Adbar, dwarves are leaving their towns to follow their king, back from the dead. King Bruenor Battlehammer, the legend. How could he be back from the dead, he died around the year I was born.

She doesn’t have much more for me. There are tales of orcs attacking caravans, and trolls in the Evermores.

The party was happier to stay for a few days that I expected thankfully. We hit up the Talking Troll to talk to Silvarren, a priest of Helm. We found him deep in his cups and in a sorry state. After a bit of coaxing, he confessed to doing a spell for the brothers.

He insists that Merek never left his house, but admits he kept some information from the brothers. He said something about ‘not being buried beneath the ground, but above the ground’. It’s troubling news, so we left him to his cups.

After asking around town, we heard that Urgula, our Inkeep and Merak were supposed to be involved back all those years ago. We decided to avoid directly questioning the wife and discreetly questioned Urgula about her involvement with him. The poor woman fell apart and was extremely upset about the whole thing. She did admit to having an affair with him, and she never really got over his disappearance. She was convinced that his wife killed him when she found out about the affair, but proof never surfaced.

Merek’s widow runs the flophouse on the outskirts of town, so we decided to go and check it out. The priest’s words about not being buried gave me concerns of dark rites, so I tried to attune my senses to the undead but found nothing. On a hunch about ‘being buried aboveground,’ we asked Lilli to get her familiar to fly up to the attic whilst we kept his wife busy with small talk.

Lilli sensed through the familiar the stench of dead upstairs, so Luke left to scale the wall. He burst in shortly thereafter through the inside door leading down from the attic and grabbed the wife, with proof that her husband’s skeleton in the barrel upstairs. I blocked her escape out the front door and we carried the shaking and wailing woman down to the Lord Protectors.

Darathra was initially upset we had confronted the wife but was quickly appeased when she was shown the skeleton we had found in her attic. Darathra still wanted more proof, so we eventually retrieved the priest from his watering hole at the cost of his bar tab. He sarding well managed to call up the spirit of Merek from the planes beyond!

We were able to learn from him the horrible tale that his wife indeed killed him, poisoning his stew with a sleeping potion. He awoke to find himself in a barrel, a barrel in which she threw in a live snake before sealing the lid with both of them in there. He died shortly thereafter of the snake bites.

Before his soul passed back into the other planes he gave us his wishes of where he wanted his body to be lain to rest, and messages for Urgula and his brother. He never stopped loving Urgula, and he regretted never being able to say goodbye to his brothers. We were able to pass on these messages before the brothers took away his corpse for proper burial. They passed us a longbow for our trouble.

We suggested the priest be locked up whilst he sobered up. He is needed by his flock in Red Larch and we should try and get him there without him falling back into his cups.

Before we managed to leave, however, a runner arrived with a message that there had been a robbery. Darathra again asked us to investigate on her behalf. On the way out Luke’s facade fell and admitted to heisting some possessions of Draven the night prior as I’d suspected. I can’t say I’m upset, I can’t use my sword on the fools and arrogant, so I can’t say I will shed a tear if Luke lightens their purses. He did mention that he lifted a fairly big spellbook, which aligns with Darathra telling us Draven is a wizard. We’d best be keeping a low profile around him for now, I do not want to be up against no sarding wizard. Its too late to take it back now, so we will have to deal with the consequences of Luke’s actions.

However, when we arrived at the scene of the robbery, it was the trading post that had been broken into. We found out that the trading post was run out of Yatar, which explained why Daratra would want an impartial, out of town group to investigate. The trading post was hated in town for being an out of town competing interest, and it traded in goods that hurt places like the farriers and harness makers.

Luke noted that there were thieves can’t scrawled on the building. After some probing, o we found out that the proprietor has paid protection money to the thieves guild of Yatar, the ‘Hand of Yatar’. There was also a grappling hook and harness left at the scene of the crime. Even my inexperienced eye could tell the masterful work on the gear. It’s strange they would leave it at the scene. Luke thinks it has been left as a message. The room is locked but almost all the locks are flimsy.

Narth, the proprietor is the only one with keys and says that a magical bag with gold has been stolen, a year’s worth of money. He’s angry to not have received protection from the Hand of Yatar.

We agreed to check out the farriers and harness makers who are the direct competitors of his business but decide not to show anyone the grappling hook or harness immediately so not to tip our hand on the investigation. We pretended to just be gossiping about the break in and don’t declare ourselves investigators.

The farriers hate the Trading post, but we can’t find anything suspicious there.

The harness makers again have nothing suspicious happening, the quality of the work is great but has a different style compared to the harness we have. We can’t find an identifying mark to tie the works together. The harness maker also hates the trading post, but this doesn’t prove anything.

We checked out the forge whilst we were there, but there was nothing of note. On the way out Lilli pulled us aside. She had just noticed that the spellbook was radiating magics. After quickly inspecting the spellbook, she realised it was trapped. It will rudding well explode if opened by anyone but Draven, and it will summon a creature to protect the book, but we don’t know what will trigger that outcome.

After some discussion, we went back and asked the smithy to craft us a lead pot. Lilli rambled on something about lead blocking magic emanations, so her theory was that if we encased it in lead it couldn’t be detected. Sounds like a bunch of lunacy to me, but we went and commissioned a lead pot from the smith. Whilst we were there, I also asked him to start working on a better shield for me.

We discussed a shield with Lathander’s symbol on it, the detail engraved it. He can’t do the gemstones, but he will be able to hammer the detail into the work, depicting the symbol of my god, a sunrise over the rolling hills of the landscape.

Exhausted of options, we got him to inspect the grappling hook and harness, without revealing too much of our intent. Hesitantly, he did inform us that the grappling hook was his work. He sold it to one Darz Helgar, who has a shanty shack at the caravan grounds.

As the smithy was a dwarf, I tried to find out what I could about the dwarven movements up North. By Lathander, was he excited! Bruenor Battlehammer has come back in a younger body and has rallied a large number of dwarves to reclaim Gauntlgrym, home of the first clan of dwarves, the Dalzun. They sound to be in the process of taking the city. He firmly believes that Battlehammer is chosen of the gods. It’s a powerful statement, especially from a dwarven folk.

We paid Darz an immediate visit afterwards to discuss the gear. As soon as he saw it he was crestfallen and confessed to being the thief immediately. However, he insisted that he was blackmailed by the proprietor of the Talking Troll, Kaelen. He did 10 years in the dungeons of Waterdeep, and is trying to make a fresh start, but was dragged into it by Kaelen who knew of his past.

I believe him, but we still took him to Darathra to be imprisoned for now. With her leave, we checked out the Talking Troll to see if we could find the stolen gear.

Lilli couldn’t detect any magic at the Troll so Luke once again helped himself to a look around, whilst we distracted Kaelen with small talk. We found him outside shortly thereafter with a backpack containing a strongbox. After checking in with Narth and confirming it was his, we went straight back to the Troll to arrest the owner.

He didn’t put up a fight after being directly confronted, so he’s also warming a cell, awaiting trial. I’ve asked Darathra to show leniency on behalf of Draz, being blackmailed, and I believe she will do so. The denizens of the flophouse helped themselves rather quickly to the now free booze available. The smell of the orcish ale was enough to turn my stomach, I can’t believe they would willingly touch the swill.

We went to return to the smithy to pick up the lead pot and finally protect ourselves from being found with the stolen spellbook by the wizard Draven, but of course, our sarding luck had run out.

Draven stormed up to confront us on the road about his book, but not before Luke and John slipped off quietly, unnoticed. Draven got confused and thought his locate spell had mixed up and found Lilli’s book by accident, so he insisted we go to the smithy to wrap her book in lead to he could find his.

As he dragged Lilli to the smithy, I saw out of the corner of my eye a dog I hadn’t seen before running into the smithy. By the time we got there it had run back out again. We awkwardly watched Draven force Lilly to wrap her spellbook in lead, in front of an amused smithy wondering why the sudden demand for lead.

Draven couldn’t do much without his spellbook so he enlisted Lilli to help, giving her a locate object spell scroll. She agreed to help out later on.

However, fearful that Luke would be found out when Draven got a bead on his book now that Lilli’s spellbook wasn’t corrupting his spell, we waited with held breath.

But Draven simply shrugged and said he still couldn’t find it. We retired to the Inn to find Luke and John there ahead of us with smiles on their faces. John had shapeshifted into a dog, picked up the pot, and returned it to Luke to wrap Draven’s stolen spellbook up, probably mere rudding seconds before Draven fired off a new locate object spell.

Draven did fill Lilli in on the protection on the book in his arrogance, however. The missing protection we couldn’t ascertain was that if the book was removed from city limits it would also explode! We had a very close call with that one, it would have been one short adventure had we foolishly tried to leave town with the book.

I’m furious that the Rogue didn’t sarding well tell us about his adventures in advance. If we knew about the spellbook and stolen goods beforehand we could have handled the situation a lot better than this mess. I’m tempted to pick him up and dump him in front of Draven and let him sort this mess. out. Why should I let him risk the entire group for his selfish actions?

Eventually, We agreed that night that the best course of action was to ‘find’ the book the next day, and return it to him. Lilli was beside herself with the idea of copying from his spellbook, so I hope it works out like that and not us squaring off against a sarding Wizard.

Even if our little wizard pulls this one off, we will be having words with Luke.

2st Marpenoth, the Star Walkers Return

We awoke the next day and went back to the Troll, covering the secret hole we found the backpack in the prior day with lead. We then returned to Draven, pretending we found it where the stolen goods from the trading post were located. The best lies stick closest to the truth it would seem.

Draven seemed to believe us and was merely happy to have his book back. Before he rushed off to spend quality time with his now returned book, he said to Lilli that if she returned in 8 hours, he would give her a full 24 hours with it to copy what she wanted. I thought she would fall off her chair, but she recovered quickly, squealed, and scampered off to the Inn to get to sleep so she was fully rested for her marathon copying of spells. What do these sarding wizards see in the words that is so rudding interesting?

I messaged Arelosa about the Inn’s available in Triboar as per her request when we left her. We also got a message from Naxene, it seems they have traced Strog and the bugbear for the eight days since they ‘escaped’. She will update us when they move again. From what Lilli grunted before rushing to bed, it appears Naxene was quite surprised to hear we all survived our an encounter with Gnawbone in one piece.

We settled in for a quiet afternoon at the Inn to wait out Lilli’s sleep. We didn’t get that, however. I heard cries for help outside before I could even get halfway through a sarding meal!

We rushed outside, asking Urgala to rouse Lilli from her slumber. We barely got out the Inn door before we were rushed by a group of Orogs! I was barely able to keep standing after taking two greataxe blows from the feinds. Once we got clear we got a better view of the state of the Triboar proper.

There were villagers running around every which way, either fleeing from danger, running to find their families, or using tiny water pails to hopelessly try and put out flames licking up their houses.

Flaming magmins bounced around the area, cackling gleefully as they set on fire everything in their range. The villagers had no hope defending against the fires they scurried in a disorganised, chaotic state.

We only made it a short distance from the door toward the nearest fire when an arrow from Luke felled a magmin at range. The feind chortled, shook and exploded in a shower of molten lava, setting on fire everything near it, including the house we were trying to save.

Only the shortest span later, we heard a smash back at the inn a few stories up. Urgala had jumped straight out the window from the top floor of the Inn and landed on the ground. We could see Lilli just beyond, sleepy but wide-eyed. I could see her start channelling some sort of spell, but we were mobbed my more orogs.

The orogs were larger than your usual orc, dressed in full plate mail and wielding great axes. They moved quickly and worked better as a team than the orcs did, but with the numbers we had we were able to work on down, then another.

We used the magic canteen we got back in Waterdeep to spew a gyser of water onto the buildings. We run between buildings, taking down magmin and orogs in tandem with Urgula. Unfortunately, she hadn’t seen the exploding magmin lesson we learnt earlier and she decided to engage one in melee. Thankfully it wasn’t a fatal blow, but it’s not something she will be doing again soon.

Some of the fires started to burn faster than we could put them out. We could hear cries from one of the buildings that weren’t in range of us, but Lilli managed to get her tressum to pick up the water canteen from Urgula and fly over to put it out!

We managed to contain all the fires in the immediate area with no losses to the buildings that we could see. But we should have known that what we were involved in was bigger than a scrappy fight outside the Inn.

With the area quieter than before, we could hear cries coming from the direction of the centre of town, where the lord protector’s building was. Lilli saw ahead using her tressum farmiliar that there were sarding giants digging in the middle of the stockyards, and a bunch of mounted orogs harassing the lord protectors place, accompanied by a burnt but resolute Urgala.

We moved down to assist as soon as we could get there, moving in and through the trading post to get as close as possible as quietly as possible. After taking what we could use from the trading post, we burst out the doors screaming towards the orogs. Luke had one down off his mount before they could even see him, and we fell on the rest of the group in short order.

During combat, we could see the giants clearer, in the stockyards. They were digging slowly but with powerful strokes at the ground. I found myself wondering if this was related to the theft of the obelisk at Nightstone, but a sharp blow to my armour brought me back to the fight.

We were joined by Darathra from the protector’s tower as soon as she could get to us to continue the engagement. We were able to defeat the orogs in short order and subdue one. Once he was incapacitated we headed up carefully but quickly to try and stop them from finding whatever they were digging for. As far as I’m concerned, If the giants want something, it’s in our best interest for them not to have it.

As we bunched up around the gate, arrows already nocked and firing I called on Lathanders favour to denounce on giant, creating fear in it. Lathander smiled today, as the fear that manifested in the beast kept it at bay. We only had to beat one sarding giant today.

It kept digging and its friend confidently said it would deal with us without him. He might have been right too, my plate does little to stop a blow from a beast as big as that. I’ve been practising using my shield to attack of late and tried to use it to knock the giant down. It merely replied ‘wut’ and brought its giant greatsword down on me like an angry smithy at his forge. I barely twisted to avoid the brunt of the blow, and barely managed to block the follow-up blow against John.

We heard the other giant hit metal and start pulling up its prize. A huge wreath, c shaped. Thing must way a thousand sarding pounds!

It was hurting. All seven of us were hitting it with everything we had and it was beginning to take its toll. It tried to get away from us, but with a nod from Darathra, we pursued it and with a cut to its Achilles heel, it came crashing down. It called out to its friend to run just before we caught up with it.

And then it was done.

Battle weary, bloodied and in no shape to continue, we watched the other giant drop the massive metal circlet and run. We did not pursue. Darathra will have men here within hours to defend the town.

We checked out the twisted metal that was dug up. After inspection Lilli declared it to definitely eminate magics, and we also came across the startling fact it was made from adamantine.

After quickly interrogating the orog for information, we disposed of it and took the giant head for the bounty. Moving the metal chunk took all of us just to drag it to the lord protecters building, where we hope to keep it safe for the time being. We also kept some sort of diving stick we found on the giant, later finding out it was indeed what we suspected. It did carry some form of divination magic - magics that could track down a part of the Vonindod construct! Unfortunately, none of us has any sarding idea what that is. I can’t see it delivering food to the poor or rescuing children from danger, however. I don’t think we want to see this thing completed if that’s the giant’s plan.

We agreed that what we had before us must be a piece of this construct. We called in Foehammer who was fairly certain that markings on it showed wear points for where the piece was rubbing against other parts of the construct. We also got off him enough lead to wrap the entire piece up, which we hope will defeat any further attempts to divine or scry for it. Darathra was satisfied the constructed piece, and the town at large was safe for the time being.

Upon heading back to the Inn, Urgala was rather appreciative of continuing to still have an establishment after all was done. She didn’t suffer much damage in the fires due to Lilli’s quick thinking with the water canteen. She’s let us know of a knight she used to adventure with that we should catch up with. Sir Harthos Zymorven, of Zymorven hall. She told us some stories of his battles against giants with his signature blade. He sounds like a good person to give us more insight into fighting giants, and Urgala hinted with a subtle mention of her name he might find more generosity that mere words.

3rd Marpenoth, the Star Walkers Return

Today will see us depart the town. We’ve sold our horses at the local ranch, as we plan to take the river as soon as we can reach it. The folding boat Zi gave us from her belongings should prove an excellent means to traverse the river directly past Noanars Hold into the High Forest, in search for the druid Aerglas. John has been quietly interested in pursuing the druid since Lifferlas informed him back in Goldenfields.

Before we departed, we caught up with Darathra quickly. She informed me of a friend of the Harpers up east in Everlund and gave me a platinum shield of Triboar as proof for Dral when I seek him out.

I also spoke to Darz before we left. He let me know about the brigand Weivil. That rudding bastard was wanted in Mirabar back when I still served in the Axe. He said he saw him in Xantharls Keep not that many spans ago.

On the way back, I picked up my new shield from Foehammer. His work is intricate and beautiful, so much so that I’m not even sure it should be worn as a functional piece of armour. But it would be an insult to a dwarf of his stature to disrespect his work but not putting it to use. As I turned to leave, he called out with a letter, complete with his seal. The note was for dwarven royalty, identifying the bearer for a favour, which may come in very useful in our future.

Luke’s informed me we are ready to go, so it’s time to get a start toward the river.