FOOD = Travis, DRINKS = Gees
We climb out of the crater that was Harkenvold on the Northwest side and wander around to the Southeast side. Along the way we encounter dead bodies that fell off the city as it was lifted away but they’re all pretty old and maggoty.
It’s late when we get to the first of the farmhouses and we go inside. All around it’s too quiet. As we enter the house, we can hear quiet muttering upstairs, so Zed’rath sneaks upstairs and peaks inside the bedroom. Inside an old human man rocking and muttering, “I knew it was trouble when I saw the smoke… then the whole thing just lifted up and flew away to the East.” On the wall behind him are 30 tally marks so it’s been 30 days since the attack on the Wizard’s Tower. “They were all being killed by someone or something… some folks even decided to jump to their deaths. I warned them, I did.” He then complains that he’d leave except that he can’t find the door, so Gromel carries him downstairs. On our way down, we find a Philabuster in an embryonic state and realize that the growing monster is part of the old man’s growing insanity. Grom does a mercy killing and the Philabuster disappears. We then camp in another farm for the night… just in case.
The group talked about which way to head. Muranndin in the West is a monster kingdom. Amn in the Northwest is very much against mages, so our sorcerer won’t be readily accepted, plus, we also know that the Shadow Thieves are in abundance there. They are the main group that the Death Gate Guild splintered from. They’re the more shadowy side of the guild, where Death Gate wanted to be more honorable, so we’d rather avoid them. We decide to head deeper into the region of Tethyr, namely the city of Riatavin to the Southeast seems the best route to take to find out more information.
The next morning we set out following the road to Riatavin, filling up our waterbags along he way. As we travel, this usually heavily traveled merchant road is very silent.
On the night of the 2nd day, during his watch, the rogue hears Orc battle horns deeper in the Wealdath Forest. When his companions wake he warns them that they might be travelling parallel to the Orc horde. With Harkenvold no longer there to stem the tide, the monsters of Muranndin are working quickly to spread their influence. For the next few days we’re on guard. Poor Shaika is not enduring the travel well and her poor paw pads are getting worn out. Zed does his best to apply first aid every night, and that seems to help out some.
On day 4 there is a very brazen group of Orcs in the middle off the road, with more hidden in the woods. They demand a toll, as this road is now controlled by the kingdom of Muranndin. We refuse to pay their toll, and exact one of our own… in blood.
Days 5 and 6 are uneventful and we see no one else on the road, which still seems awfully odd. About sundown, we finally come upon the “Foolish Waif” inn which looks pretty busy. Zed remembers hearing something about good ale there, and the inn is owned by a middle aged man named Walven Gellantara. He grew up in Overlook and had an encounter with the Outsider’s Group where he was sucked into a mirror in the ground and once he was saved he took the money that he earned there to move Northwest and start this inn (See the adventure in another campaign, here). Vistra goes straight for the ale while the rest of us get settled. During dinner, we overhear about troubles in Riatavin. The dwarf goes over to loosen lips with ale. We learn of dark things and troubles with murders and bandits from Erlkazar, but not much is said to outsiders.
From across the room, Zed hears something about Deathgate, so quietly makes his way closer to listen in while warming himself by the fire. A human rogue praises the gods that Deathgate is finally gone, making the area good for adventurers again. They talk about how Barakus was the worst thing to ever happen to this place. The drow listens for a while, until the room begins to empty of patrons and the adventuring group gets louder and more annoying. Our group seriously begins to take offense at their brazenness. Zed tries to catch their attention and take them outside, but fails, and a fight breaks out anyway. They’re pretty green, and we wipe the floor with them without killing them. We sleep well that night and set off the next day.
We travel for 4 more days with no encounters, but we do finally begin meet other merchants on their way from Riatavin. The landscape around the city is grasslands and rolling hills. It’s about mid-afternoon as we approach the gates of the metropolis. As we make our way through the streets, the Shadow Thieves are hidden upon the roofs, almost like the thieve’s guild is protecting the city. Very weird! The mood in town is tense and very oppressive, like everyone is on a knife’s edge.
We decide to get supples first… just in case. Odian Homeforger, the dwarf who runs . He mentions that we’re in “dark times” so Vistra works to get him talking. He speaks of the bandits chewing off the hand that feeds them, but the Shadow Thieves are the only things standing between the bandits taking over. He suggests that we talk to Draga Underfoe, dwarven female leader on the Chosen Council, who can be found in the Ghalmrinnar building.
As dusk falls, we find , a nice and upscale inn run by a female hafling called Nerisstina Graveltoes (who sounds like Ms. Piggy). She surprises us by telling us that we have a message from Adokus Chandler, on the Chosen Council. He’d like to meet us at the , a sinkhole of a tavern right away, but she warns us that we should stay away from the dirty half-orc who runs the place, though.
We find the Rooks Treasure in the seedier part of town. Inside we’re directed to a private room in the back of the tavern. A tall, pale, gaunt man greets us from behind the table, Adokus Chandler. He is a member of the Shadow Thieves and a member on the council as well. He starts by informing us that the bandits are vampires who have established an enclave in Orgoth’s Tower, which is a day and a half East of the town and that they are preying on the townsfolk. The Council would pay us handsomely to take care of this enclave quietly and quickly. Grom recalls hearing that there are vampires who work with bandits and sometimes the bandits prove worthy to become vampires. They agree to pay us 300 gold each up front, and then 400 gold more when we complete the job. We’re also promised that the Shadow Thieves will neither hinder nor help us. As well, we ask for information on anything that might be known about Harkenvold. Adokus promises to do his best to research it for us.
As we return to the inn, the town is shutting up tightly. Grom goes up for an oil bath while the rest of us eat. Nerisstina tries to pry for information but we nip it in the butt. While we’re eating dinner, we’re approached by an overly energetic gnome cleric named Petril Silvershaper who once tried out for Deathgate but needed more “experience.” He’s way too energetic and scares us, but we DO need a cleric in the party…, and he’s willing to work for free, just to be with members of the Deathgate. The fact that he doesn’t expect money or a take in the treasure convinces Grom that we should “hire him.” Thus, Petril joins our party.
The next morning as we’re leaving the inn, a courier delivers our payment from Master Chandler. We then head over to the Temple of Sune and we’re directed to speak with High Cleric Elros Kittenstouch (Shaika feels very uncomfortable). He is a tall and very athletic Elf, who is very… gay and hits on the Drow! They’re able to sell us Holy Water and he tells us that the vampires and bandits are connected to the Night Barony in Erlkazar. He also suggests that maybe the priestess of Waukeen or the “word on the street” might give us more information as to why the vampires are more prevalent now.