21st Elint, the Star Walker’s Return

We all rested up at the Inn shortly after the fight. We had a quick, light meal upon waking to not spoil ourselves for the feast. Once we left, John went to talk to Lifferlas, who had indicated he wished to talk to the druid after we had rested.

The rest of us went to the fest in the meantime. They folk of Goldenfields know how to feast! I’m not sure I’ve ever seen so much sarding food in once spot in the last year. Strawberries, Raspberries, Duck, Pie, Kippers, Dates and more. As we were eating, John returned. He informed us that he had joined a group called the Emerald Enclave, a group Lifferlas seems to have great knowledge about. From the conversation, it seems John is eager to search for a druid called Aerglas who was responsible for giving Lifferlas life, a druid that has left on a pilgrimage never to return. He believes an old, wise treant with knowledge of him to be at the Shadowtop Cathedral, near the Disariner river.

The Abbot has been giving a speech praising Chauntea for the bounty of the harvest when he calls me to the stage. I’m no public speaker but I manage to make a small speech to convey how happy we are that we have been able to help the town avert a disaster.

We catch up with Naxene after the feast. She informs us she knows a person in Waterdeep with ‘experience’ with dragons, one Chazlauth Yarghorn. He sounds a little… quirky, but we figure that if Naxene thinks it’s worth out time it is worth looking into.

We are hardly even finished talking to her before the bard that we heard shouting earlier burst into view desperate to sing his latest ballad on our adventures. It’s somewhat… unfinished but still enjoyable.

On the way out we found Meros enjoying the festivities. Whilst still pumped up from combat, he has suggested we find time to make it to Amphail, to meet an old flame of his. He wouldn’t say anymore but that she would be a good resource. He isn’t much for wasting words, this one.

Zi asked to speak to me personally. I headed into the church with her to find out she wanted to express her gratitude for helping save the village! She insisted that she should do something, something to show her thanks. What would Teisha think? As her hands went to the clasp of her dress behind her neck I moved a hand to stop her… but she unfastened her necklace and gave the black pearl pendant to me.

Zi wants me to take it to the butler of the noble house Calder Marskyl in Waterdeep. She isn’t any more forthright with what will happen then as she was beforehand.

We’ve collapsed back at the inn and will head back to Waterdeep at the ‘morrow. What a day.

22nd Elint, the Star Walkers Return

Mid morning greets us when we rise. We find Zi waiting for us when we head outside. She lets us know that they have captured a sarding bugbear! It’s in the jail cell with Strog and her and the Abbott have come up with a plan.

They want to release it and scry on it as it heads back to it’s home. But the problem, of course, is they can’t just release it. Her solution, and what she thought we could help out with is to do a fake interrogation first before letting it break out, in the hopes it would think it escaped us and leads them straight back to its home. Luke jumped in to agree to be the one to interrogate it a little too quickly for my liking.

When we headed into the cell we found Strog in the cell next to the bugbear. What a disgrace the man is to the uniform. He’s not even apologetic about being to drunk to serve the town in its time of need. We share some choice words with the disgraced captain, but before it can go any further we notice Luke has already started his ‘interrogation’.

Luke grins a mischievous grin as he threatens to cut off the bugbears bollocks. In fact, as the predator’s smile extends on Luke’s face, I’m struck by the sudden realisation I believe he’s for real. Has he done this before? I think he might have… His detail on the effect on the body after removal of the bollocks is far too great for someone who is.. not familiar with the subject.

Just as his knife reaches the bugbears skin it confesses just a little, telling us that a female, Gah, has taken over the tribe. She has booted out the females of the tribe and made all the males her husbands. I’m not even sure what to say about that, but what I will say is I don’t want to meet a female giant that can boss around an entire tribe of males.

Zi then interrupts the interrogation and we leave, ‘accidentally’ leaving the cells unlocked. The trap is set, Luke has taken a snippet of hair and palmed it when the bugbear was confessing. We pass it to the Abbott who will use it to scry on the bugbear.

We kitted up shortly thereafter and after some discussion set out for Waterdeep We made good time and will bed down just off the road for the night.

23rd Elint, the Star Walkers Return

Another day riding toward Waterdeep. Again we camp just off the road for the night. We lost some time when we had problems with Lilli’s horse’s shoe but we think we will still make Waterdeep with good time.

24th Elint, the Star Walkers Return

We arrived in Waterdeep almost on time. We chose to hit up the markets in the town first before heading out for business. Despite our better senses (and perhaps because of Lilli’s curiosity) we decided to head down to the dragon expert’s house.

Chazlauth answered the door in such an absent minded rush I turned to thank him and leave before he got more than two sentences out. Lilli rambled on for a bit before John stepped in to take a bit of a lead. We managed to get inside the house but he proved supremely unreliable.

He had cats running around the house, climbing over things, and then the strangest thing happened. A rudding baby dragon burst out a door chasing one of the cats around, playing like all the others. It was silver and playful. We had all fallen silent, watching this little creature, beautiful but soon to be deadly. Chazlauth introduced it casually as Irrizorl like it was another pet.

After discussing our current situation and concerns about the Giant threat, Chazlauth said that he had read tales of an old dragon that possessed many crystal balls and could scry on the entire world. It was located in the Kryptgarden forest, just outside of Westbridge. Hearteningly, he went so far as to say that of the encounters he had read about people meeting ‘Old Gnawbone’, most of the time at least one or two people made it back. Well, this is sarding wonderful.

After selling the Giant heads we had for some gold, I ducked into the spires to catch Renald up on our progress before heading down to the sea ward. There we found the house Zi referred to before.

I knocked on the door and showed the butler then pendant. His eyes lit up in recognition and let us in. From what I could gather from him, she grew up here. Her father was strict, but her parents are now dead. He passed us a box of her belongings which she no longer wanted with her new somewhat zen lifestyle.

We took the items with our thanks and booked an inn for the night. Lilli identified them for us, we now have a wooden box that can transform into a rudding boat on command, some device you put over your eyes that helps you see in the dark, and a clay flask that has unlimited water in it. We can see good use for these in the future.

Lilli let us know she got a message from Naxene at Goldenfields, the bugbear got out as planned but freed Strog and took him with it. They will track it when they are able to.

We had a quick chat before turning in, and we think it’s best to head now up to Raslanter and then onward to Amphail.

25th Elint, the Star Walkers Return

After a day’s ride we’ve made Waterinn, in Rassalanter. But of all the places to go, we’ve managed to pick the town and Inn with a Zhentarum agent acting as the innkeep! Before we rested, John noticed that the walls were rather thin for the walls of an Inn. Luke managed to slip out and get into the walls to find the innkeep spying on us.

He is tied up here, one Yondral Horn. He wasn’t particularly cooperative with our questions before Lilli worked her magic upon him, after which point he became much more useful.

Turns out he is a rudding Zhentarum agent! To Luke’s utter disgust, it turns out that the fence Luke encountered at Goldenfields was a Zhent agent, and the scroll he is holding is a blank parchment. We’re pretty much certain the meet that Luke was supposed to go to at the Bargewright Inn was an ambush or a setup. The area is a sarding Zhent stronghold. We quickly discussed it and we are unlikely to head to the area now.

Xolkain and Kella are still around and working for the Zhents. Xolkain is still somewhat sore about the incident back at Nightstone, but it seems the Zhents aren’t into anything that isn’t profitable, so personal grudges aren’t a consideration for the group as a whole. I think that’s good news, we don’t need to be chased around the countryside by any more malicious organisations than absolutely necessary. He knows about our group, which suggests the Zent’s have taken an interest in us for some reason.

We couldn’t manage to get more out of him at that point so we’re bedding down and taking watches on him. Tomorrow we will set out for

26th Elint, the Star Walkers Return

It was only a short 5 hours to Amphail. We have gotten ourselves some rooms at the local inn with… interesting decorations. There are enough rugs in just this room to sarding well furnish a small village.

It appears fortuitous we have arrived on this day, as it seems to be a local lord’s birthday. There are festivities preparing in town, with both a pie eating contest and an archery contest to be had.

The town appears to mainly be a second home for the wealthy youth from Waterdeep, taking advantage of the horsing community present.

We found Arelosa at the Inn just as Meros said. She met Meros when they were both in a travelling carnival. Meros, of course, was the strongman of the group. She had many fond memories to share of him, but when John spoke of the harp-shaped pin partially hidden on her, the conversation turned more serious.

She revealed to be part of a group furiously opposed to the Zhents, called the Harpers. They fight for equality and against tyrants, mainly from the shadows. She informed us the Bargewright Inn is a Zhent stronghold so it’s for the best that we skip going there as they planned for us to do.

She offered us membership in the Harpers. Despite my trepidation, I tentatively joined the organisation. I serve Lathander with my whole being, but I think that a group in opposition to the Zhents is a good group to have on our side. They haven’t proven themselves evil, but their methods appear to careless to be called good.

We all ended up participating in the contests. Somehow, the tiny gnome Lilli prevailed in the pie eating contest, a fact which I suspect the feisty thing will not let us forget anytime soon judging by how excitedly she’s been telling everyone within earshot for the rest of the day. I made some early wins in the archery contest but eventually the ranger Sancho got the best of me. I have never relied too heavily on ranged weapons.

We did have a minor run-in with a minor lord at the feast, one who we found harassing a serving wench. Not only did Luke break the tension by pretending to be drunk and insulting to the lord, he also managed to slip out with the rudding idiot’s purse. A wave of the hand from Lilli sends him to the nearest bush after tasting his meal. She told us later that his meal tasted most… unsavoury after some magics on her behalf.

Tonight Lathander visits me again. I’m mounted, dressed in the garb of the Axe of Mirabar. I can see the dark rider moving amongst the figures, reining destruction with his axe. I begin to ride him down hard with my mount, but as I’m starting to catch him he pulls further ahead, leaving a trail of corpses in his wake. I hear a noise behind the flock of fleeing figures, deep in the black behind me. A misty cloud is spreading from a set of gates in the distance, creeping toward the fleeing figures. I can feel Lathanders gaze on me as I scramble towards the daylight breaking.

27th Elint, the Star Walkers Return

Were saddling up and heading out of town at noon. Before we’ve left I checked in with Arleosa, who suggested I talk to the lord protector at Triboar, one Darathra Shendrel. She’d like me to report back on inns the Harpers could buy out, and to those means has given me a magical sending stone so I can communicate with her over distances. I wish we’d had easy access to these in the Axe!

After 8 hours of riding, we’ve bedded down at a campsite. We’ve come across a few rangers out and about and decided to share the watch. They don’t have much information for us but it’s nice to break bread with others for a change whilst on the road.

28th Elint, the Star Walkers Return

Were bedding down at an Inn at Red larch tonight. Long day on horseback but uneventful. We expect to make Westbridge tomorrow. We haven’t decided if we want to even attempt finding Old Gnawbone immediately, but we will ask around about her before deciding.

29th Elint, the Star Walkers Return

Another uneventful days traveling tonight. Were looking to make Westbridge tommorow.

30th Elint, the Star Walkers Return

A Dragon! A sarding, rudding, Dragon! I knew deep down they existed at some point, but here, now, today?

Gnawbone came out of the forest, shape-shifted and invisible. We could see the trees falling and the ground moving, but the creature was not of this world to be seen. Just the sight of her was enough to drive a man mad, I could feel a wave of fear wash over me just upon her approach.

We delivered the pigs that the old man in town insisted on us bring out. We found him in town, a man who claimed to feed Old Gnawbone at harvest time regularly for many years, a form of protection for the town. We stupidly agreed to take the pigs out to the forest as he’s too frail too - I’m not sure any of us really thought that there would really be a big, mean dragon out there.

So there we were, a mighty ancient dragon bent down low over us, wanting to know why we had invaded its territory, and why it shouldn’t just eat us right now. It flung a squealing pig into the air and by the time it hit its mouth it was burnt to a crisp from its flame breath and swallowed it whole, waiting for our response.

Why couldn’t my life have stayed as it was in Mirabar?

We did as Ghaliver suggested. We whimpered and whined and provided platitudes for the mighty dragon. It’s a good thing that he gave us clear instructions for dealing with it because I don’t think any of us were in the frame of mind to think at all. We offered it gold and the pigs we brought it, bowing as low as we could as we did.

The dragon eventually decided to allow us to ask it some questions, for a gold price. After careful consideration, we ask what is driving the Giants behaviour? Gnawbone informed us that ‘The ordering that binds them has been shattered’. Again, we ask what is the best way to stop them? She replies that we could kill them all but the task is beyond us, or we could redo the Orderning but also beyond us.

She suggests we seek our knowledge located at the spine of the world, at the Great Temple, Eye of the All-Father, located in the Valley of Khedrun.

We turn to leave but the opportunity is too great. Knowing for sure what caused the event’s that lead up to being stripped of my rank in the Axe and exiled from Mirabar.

I asked Old Gnawbowne if the Marchion was of sound mind or he was being controlled like I’ve suspected. I just had enough gold to scrape together for the answer. Hislen. The gnome alchemist Hislen had ensorcered the Marchion and subverted the throne. Hislen must have masterminded everything that happened before I was exiled.

My life was ruined in a stroke in circumstances beyond my control. Everything was taken away in an instant despite the years of dutiful service. How many have died because of that sarding slime?

Lathander be damned, I will make Hislen pay for his crimes. I will plant my sword into his belly until he rests on the hilt and breathes his last.

As we go to leave, Gnawbone tells us that we should keep an eye out for a giant wearing the skull of a dragon. And, after casually eating the last pig, that we should not come back. Ever.

The others are sound asleep after the rounds the townsfolk bought us that night. We convinced them that there was indeed a dragon in the forest and that she must be paid tribute at harvesttime. Thankfully they have agreed and will be safe for the future to come after Ghaliver passes on.

I don’t pray to Lathander tonight. I look out the window into the lands yonder North, and wonder how long I must wait before I can claim my vengeance.

Tonight, I dream. Again, I’m mounted, but instead of setting off after the dark rider, I push against the fleeing figures. I ride down towards the misty back cloud that creeps toward the fleeing forms. As I draw closer and closer, I can hear a sound, crackling like lightning. But it’s not until I hit the misty wall that the shape takes form. The sound cackles like laughter, as the cloud starts to choke me. My mount falters and throws me at speed into the ground. As the mist chokes me and the life passes from my body, I can hear Hislens cackling laughter, laughing at his triumph. My sword falls to my side, useless.