13th Marpenoth, the Star Walkers Return

We’ve struck out today for the edge of the forest closest to Everlund. Tharra tells us she has a plan to get us there quicker than we would expect but plays coy on how she plans to do so. It just requires us to get close to the edge of the Forest.

It has been an uneventful day, any beasts that might have caused us grief would stand aside at the sight of the two treants shadowing us, Crabapple and Walnut. I find it hard to believe there is a beast in this forest capable of causing harm to another, but it must be so. Tharra has filled our ears with tales of the forest, including the struggle of centaurs that have been fighting aberrations that poison the forest. It would appear not even a tranquil retreat like this is not safe from the evil that invades this world when none stand opposed to it.

We made good progress today, so we have hunkered down and enjoyed the bounty of John’s newly acquired magical item. It’s time to put this journal down and see what he’s decided is on the menu today.

14th Marpenoth, the Star Walkers Return

Another good day of progress, with little to keep us down. The only thing stopping us getting there faster is the treants, who move at a respectable pace but are much slower than what we can attain.

Of the night, Lilli’s curiosity overcame her and she insisted on trying to find out where the food came out of the cornucopia. Upon digging in to see what was inside the horn-shaped wicker basket, she promptly stuck her head much too deeply into it and found herself suddenly wearing it as a hat.

We have a good laugh at the sight of the gnome stumbling about with her shrill, rapid fire cries for assistance muffled through the wicker. Unfortunately, she didn’t find the funny side of it and didn’t join in the laughter.

She has many years to grow up. I’m sure the rough edges will be smoothed out if she survives our journey. I must see to it that everyone in our group does. I cannot lose any more people I’m responsible for. They still haunt my dreams at night.

15th Marpenoth, the Star Walkers Return

We arrived at the edge of the forest shortly before lunch and took a break to hunker down some of the food John pulled out of the cornucopia. Tharra explained her plan to get us there, fly like droplets mist on the wind.

She wasn’t kidding. With a word and a touch, I watched her touch John who closed his eyes peacefully, taking in the serene forest one last time with a sigh. Then, he… evaporated into a mist and flew away on the wind, heading in the direction of overland. One by one Tharra sent us on our way, with Luke mistrustfully waiting until last before allowing the druid to touch him.

I can’t pen down what happened in the hours that we rode the wind before we arrived at Everlund. Perhaps it’s an experience not bound for a journal. It wasn’t and uncomfortable experience, but an odd one. I was conscious but unconscious, with a perception of the world and time that was… altered. The time before we landed in Everlund was a few hours at most by the tracking of the sun, but for me, it was an indeterminate amount of time.

Everlund was a big place, it must be second only to Waterdeep itself. After we got past the guards at the gate we could see the massive tower in the distance, a mages tower clearly. Despite the fact locals told us the tower in the distance appeared sealed and had no entrance, It was a task and a half to keep the fledgeling wizard on task to continue onto to our lead here, Danavar’s house.

We headed to Danavar’s House, the local village bar in Everlund that Darathra told me to find back when we left Triaboar. We found the innkeeper, Dral, behind the bar just as described. A one-eyed orc, polishing a glass as we entered the bar.

I slipped him the Harpers badge and the Triboar badge and surprisingly, he returned in kind by pouring us all a wine each, silently. I was a bit surprised and was the first to drink some of the wine he offered.

I was no longer in the bar but in a dark place. I was alone, but after a short break whilst my eyes adjusted to the dimness, I could sense I was no longer alone. The rest of the group seemed to pop into existence behind me. We were in a large marbled place, very cushy. Tressum were everywhere, and moving forward we moved into a large parlour, magically lit. Globes drifted around the room and it wasn’t long before a wizard in a purple robe appeared.

He introduced himself as Krowen Valharrow, an archmage. Lilli’s eyes bugged out when she realised we were inside the mages tower, teleported by the drink in the inn.

After some conversation and Lilli’s incessant questions of the wizard, we were led to a room with a circular seal on the floor. The Harpers had a teleportation network around the north end of the sword coast region, with this just being one spoke of the network. He would give us access to it for free, enabling us instant travel between Neverwinter, Yatar, Everlund, Loudwater, Waterdeep and Mirabar.

After we got over the initial shock of the revelation, we told him our story and what had been going on. We learnt from him that there had been a giant castle spotted flying over the Evermoors of late, possibly the same castle we were pursuing back at Nightstone. Whilst they were trying to keep an eye on the castle movements, they were also aware of other Giant activity that appeared to be picking over the bones of an ancient civilisation - like what we observed with Fire Giants looking for Vonindod Construct pieces. He confirmed that the Vonindod Construct was an ancient adamantine weapon that was built to slay dragons.

He also warned us of the great dragons that lurked around the areas.

*Blue Dragon - the doom of the desert (Domain of the Silver Marshes and Anauroch)

White Dragon, lair in the Spine of the World (reports of her being eccentric but crafty)

Red Dragon, Klauth (lair in the Klauthen Value)*

Despite our interest in using the teleporters our plan was always to continue on to Silverymoon and Zymorven Hall.

Before we left we did find out that the fire giants might have forges hot enough to forge adamantine. Gayntelgrum’s forge is fired by a volcano and makes the best equipment in the land. He also indicated the Giants had a place near Citadel Adbar.

We were teleported back to the tavern and went onto the Bright Blade Brandished to have a sleep before setting out. The inn definitely impressed, the liquor flowed free and was transported across the bar by magical magehand. Lilli was particularly impressed of course, but I even saw John take a few hidden glances at the scene we were surrounded by.

15th Marpenoth, the Star Walkers Return

We got up early and grabbed ourselves two horses from the local stables and set out quickly for Zymorven Hall. It wasn’t that long before we found ourselves in front of the keep, set against a hill.

We didn’t pause for long before we approached the guards to look for an audience with their Lord. Despite our gear, they only thought we were beggars. Despite this, we pressed on and got ourselves an audience.

We found ourselves in front of Lord Zymorven within the hour. He was able to recognise us for the adventuring party that we were and organised a meal that to us was a banquet. After some small talk and some gorging, we broached the topic of Urgula and her suggestion that we come and visit the ageing knight.

Zymorven was quite the boisterous storyteller! We swapped stories for some time before the conversation turned more serious. Eventually, he admitted that his famed sword had been stolen by his son, Hartel, who had disgraced the family and married a common harlot.

We offered to track the sword down and he insisted that if we did recover it we were welcome to use it, with the wish the sword would once again be used against Giant foe once more.

We broke bread and swapped tales of past brawls well into the night and collapsed well fed into his accommodation late in the night.

16th Marpenoth, the Star Walkers Return

We thanked him for the hospitality he shared with us and the accommodation and left early the next day.

Hartel was last seen in Yatar with his wench so we decided to head back to Everlund and give the teleporter network a try.

It was a quite on the road except for some game that we saw skirting the roads.

16th Marpenoth, the Star Walkers Return

The next day was shaping up to be uneventful as we were expecting, but we were certainly wrong by the end of the day.

It all started with a carriage we found just off the forest. With some scouting, we found 4 men equipped with morningstars and heavy crossbows. John, scouting shapeshifted as a wolf, reported back that a zhent tattoo could be seen on at least one of the people.

John overheard enough of their conversation to know they looking for ‘the flying misfortune’, a bronze dragon.

We decided quickly to confront them, Luke being particularly keen to take down the Zhentarum a peg or two after what they did to him with the fake letter back at goldenfields. I was keen to see some of these sarding mongrels back in the dirt where they belong, too.

After some hesitation, they realised that we were adventures and didn’t recognise us. They wanted us to help them hunt a bronze dragon that had been terrorising their caravans in the region. We knew they would only want us to be a distraction for their fight, but we decided to play along to find a good time to turn the tables on them.

As we fell into file with them, keeping wary, Cyke filled us in on what he knew of bronze dragons. With his background as a dragonborn, he knew a bit more about dragons than we did.

Bronze dragons tended to be fascinated with warfare, loved swimming. More importantly, they tended to be good.

Suddenly, we heard a sound fly overhead and through the trees of the clearing, a great bronze dragon strode through the trees into the clearing, snapping them like twigs.

Felgolos, the bronze avenger strode into the clearing, roared mightily, and hissed at the zents. A lightning bolt fired across the zents, smoking 2 of them as they stood. The others barely dodged out of the way to only get singed.

Like our encounter with Old Gnawbone, we felt a wave of fear wash over us, but we were already engaging the zents in combat. They shouted their dismay at our sudden but inevitable betrayal. As we closed the distance to their caravan, Cyke pinned one of them to the caravan seat with two javelins.

Felgolos strode in, picking one up and ripping him in half with one fell swoop. The last guy valiantly fended off, dodging and weaving in between my blows and Felgolos’, before Cyke put him on the ground with another two javelin’s being embedded in his chest.

Thankfully, Felgolos was quick to understand that we planned to ambush and was thrilled of the fight. We found out that he passionately hated the Zhentarum and was ambushing their caravans wherever he could.

After we established with him our mission against the Giants he was even more thrilled to have met us. He explained to us he was keen for us to help him recover Yondalla’s delight, a sacred pipeweed. He said it was being held near Ascore, guarded by two blue dragons.

In return, he was more than happy to help us tackle Grudd Haug.

We said that we would contact him when we thought we were ready up for the task and bid him good day.

With the days’ excitement out of the way, we ensured the Zents had breathed their last and continued on our way.

Before we turned in, Lilli got word from Naxene that Guh and another dozen or so hill giants, forty orcs and goblinoids, an ettin, ogres, wolves were present at Grudd Haug. They didn’t appear to be an urgent threat to Goldenfields at this stage.

17th Marpenoth, the Star Walkers Return

We reached Everlund and Denevars house the next day fairly early on and took the teleporter to Yatar to chase down this son.

In Yatar, we initially found it hard to find info on Hartel until I got the local Harper agents to assist us. We found that he was out of reach - in jail! From Lord Zymorven’s account, its no surprise that his son would be found behind bars. As for the Zymorven family sword, it was seen in the possession of a corrupt guard captain.

This was quite the foil, as we certainly couldn’t go after a guardsman, especially a captain, even if he was well known as being corrupt. We pressed them for more information and found out he was also a well-known gambler and loves gambling on the pleasure barge that Cyke was thrown off when we took him on board. He carried the sword with him everywhere he went since he acquired it.

We came up with an indirect way to get the sword off this guard. The gambling barge didn’t allow weapons on board, so with the Harper’s assistance, we organised an invite to the barge delivered to his house. Then we set up in an inn near the captains’ house and waited for him to return back.

We planned for Luke to slip in once the Captain had left, grab the sword and slip back into the night

Lilli’s tressum saw the guard come home and find the invitation, and rush in the house scrounging up all his gold as fast as he could. It saw him rush back out with a jingling sack and more importantly, with no sword.

Luke was ready, and with Lilli’s invisibility spell helping him he slipped off into the afternoon soundlessly. Cyke, Lilli and I waited at the inn for either luke to return or for an alarm to be raised.

After an ale or two we started to become concerned that Luke hadn’t been able to slip the past or overcome the guards the Captain had posted by his place.

Just as I was starting to consider investigating, a huge sword materialised from thin air and landed onto our table with a clatter. Lilli’s spell was so good that we hadn’t even noticed his return back into the Inn.

With our business settled, we headed back to the teleporter and made our way to Waterdeep. The Waterdeep teleporter exit was guarded by an agent as well as a massive shield guardian, one that made Lilli swoon with anticipation. I think she will spend the night figuring out how she will be able to command her own construct like that in the future.

After a brief stop at Lilli’s residence near the Tinkerer’s Guild, we headed off in search of Naxene, who had indicated she was in Waterdeep for a while doing some research before returning to Goldenfields.

We found Naxene studing in a large library of Waterdeep. Lilli filled Naxene’s ears with her signature rapid-fire excited talk to fill in Naxene on Gnawbone, the pie eating contest, and so on until Naxene politely stopped Lilli for a break.

Naxene made some good suggestions, such as taking invisibility magic and lightning resist equipment if we were going to pursue Felgolos’ wishes. Her research on Grudd Haug indicated that Guh wanted to be the biggest Giant she could be so she was eating everything she could, and it appeared the raids were merely feeding her massive died.

I can’t believe Strog would turn his back on his post for this rudding fool’s errand. I swear I will end the man, he was never fit for the uniform or the responsibility of the safety of the people of Goldenfields. There is no excuse for his behaviour, and when we breech Grudd Haug I will send the sarding disgrace of an orc before Lathander for judgment, personally.

Naxene also suggested that I get myself some lighter armour to be quieter moving through the dragon’s lairs and that perhaps some colour appropriate gear would be in order for our respective journeys.

I wanted to check in with Renald at the Spires of Morning so we headed there briefly whilst we decided our next move. Renald was happy to see me as usual, especially with my head still on my shoulders. It seems there’s a bit of a pool going around the church how long I will keep it in my head. I can’t say I blame them.

He offered to help, and the best help seemed to be to get more inks for our budding young wizard. Renald provided, and also gave us some scrolls including a few Revivify scrolls. I hope to not need these, but they will be indispensable if the worst does happen.

We will rest here tonight, under the pink marble church I’ve called home now for years, and will get ready to set out to search for this Oracle in the spine of the world.

How we get there is another problem. The easiest way will be through Mirabar, but the others don’t yet know that I can never return to my hometown.

18th Marpenoth, the Star Walkers Return

I dreamt again last night. The figures move frightened in the valley, away from the cloud and away from the rider that moves between them. I have such an affection for these figures, such a desire to see them safe. but yet, I don’t think that I can.

I ride amongst them on Morning, looking for a way to save them. The cloud has already corrupted the figures and they are writhing, rusting from the effects of the cloud. I pick up those that fall, I guide those that I can guide away from danger. I try to help.

Suddenly, I recognise the face of Teisha in the distance. My wife is lost in the crowd, trying to find a way out, trying to save our children. She holds little Erik in her arms and Joane is holding her mother’s legs, lost and scared.

I head off to help them and save them, Morning ducking and weaving, leaping over the other figures that scream and squeal in their desperate flight.

Teisha sees me and screams. She screams at me to stay away. My children cry at the sight of their father and turn to run from me.

All my will went into spring Morning forward, all other priorities melting away. Teisha looks at me like she’s seen an abomination, shambling to get away from me. The look of abject terror and loathing drives a knife through my heart but yet in continue on.

As I near on them I lean off Morning, leaning further and further, Morning shifts in a way I don’t expect and I go tumbling to the ground. I only just have time to see my family continue to flee me before I hear the sounds of the Rider behind me about to run me through.

I close my eyes and weep silently into the ground as I feel the hooves run over my body.

I picked over my porridge with disinterest this morning. How could we get to the spine without the others wanting to take the route through Mirabar? Could I convince them to take another route to avoid Mirabar without arousing suspicion?

And could I be in the area without wanting to find out about if Teisha and my children were safe?

We grabbed some yeti hide gear from a vendor nearby and settled into a local alehouse to discuss our next steps.

Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t get the group to agree with my plan to head up river past Mirabar to enter the mountains by another pass. My refusal to go to Mirabar got more questions and I got more frustrated as the conversation went on. Renald did always say that my anger would be my downfall.

Lilli became more and more childish and started to insist that getting some truth from me would be for the best, so with rage I cast Zone of Truth on myself, with confidence my training would help me resist it.

I was right. All but Lilli resisted the Zone, and I was able to press Lilli with impunity with my own line of questioning.

It didn’t matter, however, and I admitted to the group that I was never to return to Mirabar on pain of death. I told them that I got a number of my own soldiers killed. I saw Luke raise an eyebrow but he seemed convinced that I was telling the truth.

They didn’t press me on details but John did pull me aside to talk about it, all I told him was that I was at fault for what happened, through no fault of my own.

We left afterwards, using the Teleporter to get to Mirabar, with the understanding from the Harpers that their teleporter in Mirabar was safe and unseen. They were right, I never heard of such a thing in my time in the Axe.

We emerged in Mirabar, and the agent at that end told us that the building we were in was backed onto the exterior walls of Mirabar. He would be able to magically tunnel through the massively high walls of Mirabar to get us out without me ever stepping foot into the light of day at Mirabar.

Before leaving, the proximity to where I last saw Teisha and the children was too overwhelming and I asked the agent to track down information on my family discreetly, without them knowing about it or that it was from me. Teisha… My love. We will never be a family again but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to know they are safe.

After my exile, I haven’t tried to find out about them, which was her express wishes. I never got a chance to rationally explain my actions, but could I ever truly justify them in her mind? I can only hope after they lost their status in the city she re-married someone with a position that could protect her and the children, the thought of her becoming a downcast traitors wife… It doesn’t bear the thought.

The others overheard me but I no longer cared about it. If they wanted to judge me let them sarding well do so and me damned.

When we got outside the wall a wave of nostalgia hit me. I remembered the nights of patrol, the drinking with the troops, the fights in the mines against the creatures that dwelled withing, the warmth of our marital bed.

I felt a snap, and with that, it was gone. I was just staring at a big wall, with empty surroundings. That was all gone.

I fell into file with the others as we got the boat ready. They had many questions about my family, which I answered as best I felt like at the time.

The rest of the day has been uneventful, and a quiet boat ride finished off the rest of the day.

19th Marpenoth, the Star Walkers Return

The next day was only punctuated by Lilli’s tressum finding the bodies of 4 frost giants and 30 men wearing war paint in the area.

We decided to pull the boat in and head out, hoping to get a few free giant heads.

We got 4 heads from the giants and some other things from the spoils. Cyke seemed to think the barbarians were from the ‘Great Worm Tribe’. It doesn’t appear that there are any tracks leading away from the conflict.

We got back on board and finished the rest the day out without issue.

20th Marpenoth, the Star Walkers Return

Not much to report in for the day. We’re still heading East and making good time.

21th Marpenoth, the Star Walkers Return

It been yet another uneventful day, nothing to report. Cyke tried to do some fishing but it hasn’t been great, and besides, we can call up what we want from the bounty. He insists it’s not the same, however.

I’m going to put this down and turn in.

Actually, that wasn’t right. Moments after I put the journal down Luke made the call, Lilli saw a frost giant coming along the beach, calling out to talk to us.

We began to prepare an ambush before we noted it wore a dragon skull on its head. This was the giant that old Gnawbone told us to seek out!

We went to parlay with it, and after establishing that it, in fact, wasn’t with the Giants and was actually resisting the current power struggle. He genuinely didn’t seem to want the smallfolk like us to be hurt.

It even turned out he rudding well lived in Waterdeep for a time! He served in Waterdeep’s Greyhands, the mercenary defence force of the town. Even Lilli had heard of his deeds.

He was looking for the Oracle as well in the Temple of the All-Father, so we were happy when he agreed to join us. We had more information on its location than he did.

I’ll try and rest again now that all that’s done with. The boats resting much lower in the water with another guest on board.