The Loudwater Chronicles

The Loudwater Irregulars

One of the downsides of being a recruiter for the Harpers was that occasionally people would seek you out who had grand ideas of being an “Adventurer”. Very few were actually suited for a life of traveling mercenary work, let alone cut out to be Harpers. Curuvar the wizard had a feeling he was now looking at just such a group of underachievers.

They were arranged in his parlor in a semicircle around him, all rapt expressions and eager demeanors. Curuvar figured most of them would be dead within a day. Nearby, the tiefling barbarian Edge stood, silently examining her nails, as if she was afraid looking any of these “heroes” in the eye would somehow jinx her too.

There was Xannon, the self-described monk. Pasty and thin; Curuvar wondered if he was simply a fighter too poor to afford armor. Rojan did describe himself as a fighter. He was certainly large enough and looked the part in his chain mail, but he didn’t strike the wizard as being especially graceful, or that intelligent really. He did claim to have attended ‘Fighter College’, whatever that meant.

Dorne fancied himself a druid; Curuvar wondered if he simply had an aversion to bathing. And Brecken claimed to be a spellcaster of great talent. There was an air of arcane power about the girl; he looked forward to hearing Edge’s report. Assuming, that is, that they survived.

Finally, with an internal sign that the wizard hoped had not been audible, Curuvar described the mission the group would undertake. “The sewer system of Loudwater ties into a much older system designed and built by peoples unknown. It has served the city well for hundreds of years. Lately, however, there are reports of trouble. The system seems to be failing, and those sent to investigate are either repelled by creatures inhabiting the sewers, or don’t return at all.

“I’m sending you lot to investigate, accompanied by Edge here. She is a valiant fighter, well trained, and she will be in command of the mission. Do as she says, and I’m sure you will be successful.” Edge’s dubious expression mirrored Curuvar’s feelings.

They left shortly thereafter. Edge led them to the sewer access, where they formed up in a rough battle line and entered. The stonework passageway led to a square chamber about 30’ across. In the center was a pool of murky, filthy water. When the party entered the room, two large crocodiles leapt from the pool and attacked!

After some initial flailing around, the party began to hit, driving the creatures back before finally killing them. They caught their breath, then moved on through several empty chambers. In one of them they found a sack full of copper coins, and traded theories on how it came to be there as they continued through the sewers.

Further wandering led them to a room full of serpents. Among the numerous small creatures were four larger, poisonous snakes. The party formed up in the doorway and let the creatures come to them. Dorne summoned a sphere of flame in the room and maneuvered it around to scorch the creatures while the fighters slashed at those who approached the doorway. In short order the creatures were dead and the party continued on.

A hole in a dead end hallway yielded two giant rats that were easily dispatched. The party had cleared the entire complex save for one hallway to the west. At the end of that hall they found a chamber with two other doors. A gang of four thugs had made the chamber their hideout, but were easily intimidated by Rojan and the rest of the party to leave peacefully.

After thoroughly searching the room, the party continued, taking the door to the west. It led to a small room with a suit of armor standing in its center. Around it, a group of goblins sat in rapt attention. As they watched, the armor rose off the floor and began to glow. Two of the goblins were slain before the others knew what was happening as the party charged the room. Rojan battled the remaining two goblins as the rest concentrated on the armor. Dorne cast a moonbeam spell and kept it focused on the armor as Xannon battered it with his quarterstaff. Finally, Brecken shot rays of fire at the armor, causing it to collapse into a heap on the floor.

The armor turned out to be magic platemail, which Rojan gratefully donned. The party also discovered Gauntlets of Ogre Strength, which none in the party save Edge had use for. They advanced to the final room and found a pack of giant rats, two goblins and two more of the mystical suits of armor. The party again held the doorway and whittled down the goblins and rats. The armors advanced, trying to push the party back, but the heroes resisted and eventually dropped the armors in quick succession.

These turned out to be only mundane armor, and in poor condition. Further investigation of the room revealed a huge rat’s nest that had been clogging the sewer. The party destroyed the nest (and the numerous miniature giant rats) before calling it a day and returning to Loudwater.

On the way back to town, Edge reflected on the team. They were scruffy and undisciplined, but they had all fought together and fought well. Perhaps there was hope after all for these new Heroes of Loudwater.

The Jade Chicken

It was Tuesday night at the Green Tankard Tavern, which meant two things:

1. “Dragon” Wings for 1cp
2. Jubal could be found heartily munching on said wings

Unfortunately for Jubal, it meant a third thing on this particular Tuesday night: Tavia had seen him and immediately marched over, sat down, and started talking to him. “You REALLY like chicken don’t you? Funny things about chickens….” Sighing, Jubal tried very hard to ignore her and continued adding to the pile of discarded chicken bones in the bucket sitting on the floor next to him. The barkeep, having seen this scenario play out before, brought over another tankard of ale for the increasingly annoyed mercenary.

As Tavia was wrapping up telling Jubal everything she knew about chickens, a young boy came in to the tavern, looked around, and nervously approached Jubal. “Sir, my master wishes to see you and Tavia immediately.” Jubal growled. “He knows it’s wing night, right?” The boy took a half step back. “He does sir, but he said it’s most urgent.” Jubal glanced over at Tavia, who had now moved on to why she didn’t like pigs. Standing up, Jubal tossed a silver to the barkeep, and grabbed a handful of wings before heading out the door. “Let’s go, girl. This had better be important.”

Jubal and Tavia reached the wizard’s chambers and found they were not the only ones summoned – both Fryn and Chaedi were seated by the fire already. As Jubal and Tavia sat down, Curuvar entered, and wasted no time getting to the point. “My friends, you have done both this town and myself great service in the past several months. But I fear I must once again ask for your assistance. There was once an artifact of great historical significance, known as the Jade Chicken. It has been possessed by kings and warlords down through the ages, before it disappeared from record. It was thought to have been lost or destroyed. Until recently, that is. Information has surfaced that the Chicken was last seen centuries ago at the Tower of Talon Pass. This holdfast once housed a garrison of soldiers guarding the mountain pass. I doubt the tower still stands, but perhaps there you may find some clue to the artifact’s whereabouts. Of course, I will pay you well for your efforts, and a significant bonus if you can find some clue to the whereabouts of the Jade Chicken. I must warn you, however, that I am not the only one privy to this new information. There may be others who also seek the Chicken. Be on your guard."

The next morning, the party stopped by the Loudwater General Store to get supplies. Jubal purchased a climbing kit and a bottle of barbecue sauce. Tavia glanced up at Jubal, “You do realize you can’t eat a chicken made of Jade right? Even with all that bbq sauce.” She grinned at him as she also placed a Climber’s Kit on the counter along with the 2 pieces of gold to pay for it. Jubal returned the grin, revealing that not only were his teeth sharpened, several were made out of some sort of shiny metal. “I can eat ANYTHING with barbecue sauce.”

After completing their purchases (and receiving a hefty discount because of their recent service to Loudwater) the party set out for the tower. The journey to Talon Pass took several days, which passed by uneventfully. They reached the site of the ancient tower to find only a meadow full of rubble hinting at its former glory. Searching the site, they found a stone stairwell set into a cliff face leading down.

Tavia lit a sunrod and the adventurers descended the stairs to find a room with two doors – one closed and locked, and the other damaged and barely hanging on it’s hinges. In the corner of the room was what appeared to be the remains of a deadly trap that had been set off by some poor hapless creature, recently in fact. Upon closer inspection, the locked door had a word painted on it in blood: “Don’t”

Deciding to heed that advice, the group proceeded through the damaged doorway on the opposite side of the room. Moving down the corridor they could hear noises ahead and soon encountered a band of orcs with a pair of wolves. The orcs fought with a fierceness that appeared to come from desperation, but were nonetheless soon defeated. Jubal,lifting his maul from the body of one of the orcs, recognized them. “These are NightFist Mercenaries. The wizard was right when he warned us that others might be seeking the Jade Chicken.” Fryn examined one of the bodies more closely. “Not all of these wounds were caused by us. Perhaps this place has defenders?”

The heroes explored the rest of the room and found another wrecked door at the other end. Warily moving on, they proceeded down a short passage in to a large room where a group of kobolds were attempting to finish off a lone orc, who made the unfortunate decision to dash around the corner headlong in to the party of adventurers. He died a quick bloody death, as did his kobold enemies after a short battle, though one did manage to escape through a door on the opposite end of the room.

Deciding to let the kobold go for now, the heroes explored the room and found a secret passage accessible from an elevated ledge. Entering the hidden room, they saw an ominous looking pit in the floor on one side. As Fryn attempted to skirt it, he accidentally triggered a deadly blade trap that nearly killed him, leaving him a bloody mess on the floor. While he retreated and tended to his wounds, the group destroyed the still whirling pillar of blades. regrouping, they examined the room and discovered a set of magical leather armor on a pedestal. Lowering a sunrod tied to a rope down the pit, they realized that some sort of magical darkness hid whatever was below. Believing that anything protected by magical darkness MUST be important, they then lowered Fryn down. But when the darkness enveloped him, he called up to his companions to pull him back up. They decided it wasn’t worth the risk and returned to the other room. They this room more and discovered another set of stairs leading down, which they took.

They came in to a room that was filled with cots, and appeared to be some sort of makeshift hospital but was otherwise empty. Moving on, Jubal pulled back a curtain that led to a room that contained three kobolds standing at the ready. With a battle cry, he charged in and immediately engaged them, but soon found himself surrounded by two more kobolds that he hadn’t seen. As it turns out, it didn’t much matter since the kobolds couldn’t seem to pierce his armor anyway. As the kobolds literally jumped on top of him, Jubal’s companions could hear him laughing. “My mother hit me harder than you dragon shits! HAR HAR HAR!” By this time the rest of the group had joined the fray. With five foes to fight, including a war priest who stood back unleashing his deadly spells, the battle was harrowing, but ended as the others did: with dead kobolds on the floor.

After a short time spent bandaging their wounds the group explored the remainder of the room and found another yet another set of stairs that they descended. The room they entered was the largest so far and had at one end what appeared to be an elevated stage. In front of the stage was a large statue of a warrior in armor. On the stage next to the statue was a large ornate crossbow on a wood stand. The center of the large room was dominated by a curtain hanging from the ceiling, that appeared to be encircling something. Flying around the current at a height of approximately 10 feet was a drake making lazy circles around the curtain. As the group approached the curtain, the drake finally noticed them and swooped in, attacked jubal, then darted away before Jubal’s hammer could strike him. As it darted back in forth though, Fryn and Chaedi attacked with deadly accuracy and it fell. The group approached the curtains and drew them back to reveal a nest of three more drakes, which also attacked them, darting back and forth mostly out of melee range. At the same time, the huge crossbow on the stage suddenly moved, and took aim at Tavia, loosing a bolt at her. Jubal, largely useless in the fight against the drakes charged straight at it, shield raised, and started hacking away at it as his companions dispatched the remaining drakes.

After a short rest, the party continued exploring and entered a large cavern. A sinister voice rang out from the darkness. “Ah.. the little spiders that so narrowly escaped my trap have wandered back in to it.” Then, a pair of malevolent, almost feline eyes appeared, coming towards them. To their horror, there stood before them the terrible shape of a black dragon, wings outstretched and tail lashing back and forth. Before they could react. everything went black and for a moment they were dumbfounded. Next there was a long deep intake of breath and the party was engulfed in acid, which burned any exposed flesh, causing searing pain. Jubal took the brunt of it and was grievously injured, even with his shield raised before him. Knowing that to stand still would surely invite death, he charged towards the dragon and came, suddenly, out of the darkness. But where there had been a dragon, there was now nothing. Turning, he quickly found that the it had moved to the other side of the cavern and was now charging towards Chaedi. Rushing forward, the battle was now fully joined by the party. While the dragon was engrossed in biting at Chaedi, Frynn had managed to move around behind it and was attacking with his scimitars. Jubal then came within striking distance and began raining hammer blows upon it, to get it’s attention away from Chaedi who was withering before it’s onslaught. As they traded blows with the dragon, Tavia stood back and provided much needed healing to the group. The dragon lashed out with it’s tail, striking Frynn and throwing him backwards, but the ranger managed to land on his feet and charged back in to the fray. Again the vile creature cast a veil of darkness about him, but it mattered not. Though powerful, the dragon had underestimated it’s foes and fell before them after a brief but violent battle.

Tavia tended to the wounded, even managing to get what sort of looked like a smile from Jubal. They moved on from the cavern and came to a short passage with two doors on either side, and one at the end that was slightly ajar. Jubal saw a shape move past the open door and without thinking (as is his tendency) rushed towards it. Bursting through the door he came face to face with a ghostly, hideous shape floating before him that moaned and then attacked him. As his companions yelled for Jubal to stop, two ghouls appeared from the doors along the side, lurched towards them and attacked. Though surprised by the undead fiends, the heroes were not daunted and soon set them free from their prison of undeath.

With the immediate threat taken care of, they went about exploring the room. Raising her sunrod high to get a better view of the room, Tavia approached a wall that held a large painting. As she approached it she gasped and dropped the sunrod. Her companions, fearing some new threat quickly ran to her. “What is it? What happened?” questioned Chaedi. Fryn looked at Tavia. “You look so pale. Were you injured?” Tavia couldn’t speak (a first), and just pointed at the portrait hanging on the wall. In a large ornate frame, covered with years of dust and cobwebs, was a painting of Tavia, or at least someone who looked so much like her that only a very discerning eye could see the minute differences. Tavia, with a bewildered look, shook her head. “But… I don’t… I don’t understand. How can this be?”

With Tavia still in a bit of shock over this turn of events, the group decided it was best to take the painting, and show it to Curavar when they returned. Perhaps the wizard could explain the meaning of it. They then searched the rest of the room. Rummaging through a large cabinet, Jubal let out with a short laugh. Tavia looked at him questioningly. Turning around, Jubal held out his hand. In it was a small jade chicken.

Necronomicon Part II
The Quest to Save Ladawn

Keef, Mags, Edge, Marwyn, Fryn, and Chaedi were drinking and having a good time at the Green Tankard Tavern when Curuvar the wizard appeared beside their table. His friend, Ladon, had been overpowered by the Necronomicon, a dark and powerful book discovered by Keef and Thornclaw on a prior quest. Ladawn had been trying to neutralize the book’s power when she was overcome and possessed.

Before they knew what happened Curuvar transported them to a town that was overrun by the undead. Fryn attacked a zombie dog while Keef valiantly saved a townsperson from a horrible fate at the hands of a zombie. Edge took on another zombie dog with the help of Mags, and Chaedi and Marwyn joined the fray. Edge was severely injured by a large zombie, but Mags helped her take revenge and get a good few hits in. In the end, all zombies were defeated, and Edge grudgingly accepted the perky gnome’s friendship.

After Mags used her abilities to help the party heal, they spoke with the man Keef had saved. He asked them to help his daughter, Maggie, who was trapped in the town’s tavern. Fryn discovered two large zombies, known for exploding into acid upon defeat, and one zombie that could only be described as an abomination. Five lesser zombies were attempting to break through the windows, but it became clear that the tavern was being protected by magic.

Before they could decide on a course of action, Edge, Marwyn, and Keef were attacked by two flying creatures. Mags and Edge once again proved a formidable team. The party managed to defeat the monsters, even though Edge set one of the zombies on fire.

They approached the tavern and were met by a projection of Maggie. She assured them that the people inside were safe and asked them to find her love, Ladawn, and bring her back. Maggie gifted the party with two healing potions and instructed them to go to the cemetery, where they would find two crypts—one belonging to the Griffin family and one belonging to the Petoria family. In the Petoria tomb, they would find a silver potion to be poured over a crystal ball in the Griffin tomb, and that would reveal Ladawn’s location.

As expected, the party came across a number of skeletons and zombies in the cemetery. Fryn and Edge were swarmed, but Keef came to the rescue while Marwyn, Chaedi, and Mags fought with ranged attacks. Edge was knocked unconscious but saved by Marwyn, and the monsters were once again defeated.

However, a greater foe awaited them in the Petoria crypt. A shadowy figure, protected by two zombies and a skeleton, floated menacingly over a sepulcher. Mags tried to reason with the figure, but he and his minions attacked. Although he could generate new minions, the party defeated him and found a chest containing the silver potion and a healing potion. Fryn seemed to be struggling on this adventure, so the healing potion was given to him.

In the Griffin tomb, the party poured the potion over the crystal ball and were transported to a large grove, in the center of which stood Ladawn. Reasoning with their foe once again proved ineffective and a battle commenced. Edge was dazed during combat while Mags proved a valuable asset, and Keef dealt the final blow(s).

Although the party’s intent was to merely disable Ladawn and hopefully save her (as her death would sadden Curuvar and devastate her lover, Maggie), Keef was unable to control himself and brought her to a gory end.

The party found some valuable loot in the grove and packaged the book carefully into a bag before returning to the village. They told Maggie what had transpired, and she broke down, too emotionally traumatized to protect the village any longer. The party then returned to Loudwater, where they gave the book to Curuvar. Curuvar then embarked on his own quest to find someone powerful enough to handle the Necronomicon.

Menace Of The Icy Spire

The adventurers were called upon by Lady Moonfire to investigate a strange cold weather phenomenon coming from a tower near the Direwood. Valerian, Fryn, Edge, Tanis, Marwyn, Mags, Chaedi, and Jubal obtained healing potions and warm clothes in preparation.

While at the general store, Tanis and Marwyn inquired about Calla’s stock boy Raumandar, who was clearly injured, but neither Calla nor her employee were willing to say what had happened.

On their way to the tower, everyone agreed to stop and speak with the wizard, Curuvar. He believed the tower must be the cause of the unnaturally cold weather and alluded that it probably had to do with fey magic. He offered to pay for anything the party found during their trip that might be of use to him.

As the party approached the albino trees of the Direwood, it became apparent the weather was coming from nearby. A strange fog seemed to surround the wood, and the party was thrust into a blizzard. Everyone worked together—except Jubal—to get through the storm alive and intact. Tanis and Chaedi kept spirits high, and Valerian attempted to climb a tree and see ahead. Jubal, Valerian, and Edge had a tough time of it, but in the end everyone survived.

As the storm cleared, the party was able to see the tower across rough, frozen terrain. Goblins and a shaman stood in their way. Edge and Jubal used brute strength to destroy some of the goblins, while Valerian and Tanis used fey magic to take on the necromancer. Mags viciously mocked several goblins to death and Fryn, Marwyn, and Chaedi held their own. The party survived the encounter and managed to snag some loot.

After the battle, they arrived at the ornate tower, which was covered in a thick sheet of ice and guarded by several demon frog statues. Valerian checked for traps, and upon finding none, he and Jubal began chipping away at the ice blocking the front door. While they worked on that, Marwyn decided to inspect the frog statues and discovered they weren’t all what they seemed.

Some of the fighters poked and prodded the statues, hoping to discover their secrets, but it wasn’t until the door was unlocked that some of the mysterious statues, as well as a gargoyle-type figure above, came to life and attacked. Edge, Fryn, and Jubal managed to kill three of the lesser beasts while Valerian killed the flying monster with Tanis’s encouragement. All fought valiantly and in the end were triumphant. The adventurers entered the tower.

The first floor appeared to be void of life. The party explored, finding pickled tentacles but little else of interest. Chaedi sensed something strange about the fireplaces, but it wasn’t until Valerian decided to explore the second floor they realized just what the fireplaces were—portals. Mags, Valerian, and Edge took on three bad guys on the second floor while the rest of the party began fending off minions coming through the portals. Valerian and Chaedi used their arcane abilities to close the portals one by one, while Jubal attempted to close them with brute strength.

After they closed the portals and defeated their enemies, the group found some loot and continued exploring. They gathered some books and potions for the wizard. On the third floor, Fryn was burned by a fire trap while trying to search an empty desk, and the group found a secret room containing Draigdurroch’s journal. It became apparent from his entries that he became involved with a demi-god, despite the warning of a fey emissary, and presumably died.

On the fourth floor, the group made the most shocking discovery of all—a frost gem engraved with runes. It had to be the cause of Loudwater’s troubles. Valerian attempted to rub the carvings off of the stone, hoping to save the gem while ridding it of its power, but he only succeeded in waking a frost giant. The frost giant was the most challenging of the enemies they’d encountered so far, laying several of the adventurers on the ground with a single attack. However, Chaedi, Tanis, and Valerian dealt the giant much damage in return, resulting in his defeat and the collapse of the tower. The gem was lost.

The quest was successful, and the adventurers traveled back to town. Nature seemed to be righting itself. They encountered no blizzards, and the chill in the air seemed less foreboding. The party reported back to Lady Moonfire, who rewarded them with gold, and to the wizard, who bought several items from them and thanked them for their information.

He was not, however, interested in the pickled tentacles.

Icy Spire Prelude

Heading down the streets of Loudwater, Taviaa didn’t even notice the huge man in front of her until she collided with his chest. Picking herself up off the ground, she dusted off her cloak and pulls her long black hair out of her eyes. “Forgive me, I was in such a hurry…” she looked up and up again into Jubal’s eyes. “Oh, your poor face!” She raised her gloved hand to trace the scar on his cheek. “Whatever did you do to yourself?!” She takes a deep breath and seems to notice the smell for the first time. “You know, the church around the corner is offering hot meals and warm baths.” She trails off and stands there, smiling warmly at the big man, “Or if you’d like, I was just heading to The Tankard for a meeting, perhaps you would like to accompany me and I could buy you a drink?”

Jubal, with a frown, grunted and looked down at the girl. After a moment he realized she wasn’t going away, and answered. “Got this scar from a half-orc when he tried to bite me. You should see the scar I gave him.”

After another long pause, he realized the girl still wasn’t going away. “The Tankard? Alright. But save your silver. I can buy my own ale.”

Taviaa smiled. “Wonderful! My name Taviaa Haldura, it is a pleasure to meet you Mister…..” She pauses waiting only long enough for Jubal to fill in the blank with his name, and then continues, “He bit you! Did it get infected? What did you do back to him?” She will continue her banter and tries to keep pace with his long strides as they make their way to The Tankard.

“Girl, what do you think I did? I bit him back!”

A young moon elf tries to saunter nonchalantly into town, which is made difficulty by his wide-eyed wonder as he gazes around. He frequently consults a book as he walks through the town. He is clearly a starry eyed and somewhat awed. With a quick inquiry, he heads in the direction of the Tankard. He tries to pretend that the young female elf following him isn’t there.

Arriving at the Tankard, he throws the doors open and stands in the doorway, seeming to drink in all the sensations of the place. His mind clearly somewhere else, he walks slowly, almost reverently up to the bar. He waits patiently for the barkeep, feeling at once a stranger and as though he has returned home.

He winces at the whine from behind him. “Valerian!!! This is NOT the marketplace! You promised mom that you would take me shopping, and I WANNA GO SHOPPING NOW….!!”

Valerian checks the glasses of the drinkers in front of him at the bar, but they have somehow survived the auditory onslaught from his little sister. She popped her gum and stomped back out. Feeling the glare of the patrons, he turned and failed to leave the bar nonchalantly. His prodigious ears red, he caught up to his sister.

“Amarylle, I will take you to the market. But I am coming back later. It looks like there might be something…interesting…happening at the tavern later. And you can’t stop me.”

Entering The Tankard, Jubal breathed a sigh of relief as he realized that Taviaa was heading off to the bathroom. He immediately found a table in a dark corner and ordered an ale. Between the very graceful looking Eladrin sitting a few tables away, and the moon elf that just sauntered in, he was beginning to wonder just what type of establishment The Tankard was…

Nymrin wanders around the Main Street gasping at all the possibilities this town offers . He wanders his way into the tankard and scans the room. Immediately noticing the other fey brethren he smiles and waves. " hail fey friends ! I wasn’t sure I would see any of our kind In an establishment like this." Realizing that none are paying attention or they may be ignoring him the gnomes curiosity gets the better of him and he begins to wander about the room.

He makes his way to the stunning eladrin sitting at a table. "Wow you eladrin are impressive, but you really should get that looked at " point to his face he hops up on the table to get a better view of the room. Seeing the barmaid he snaps his finger " miss , some wine please" he turns back to the eladrin " name’s Nymrin Von Topplepin III but my friends call me Nym"

Tanis sits quietly at his table sipping what passes for wine in this town. He starts to smell something and looks around the room to find the source. It’s getting worse and he is losing hope of finding the source when a large nasty looking man walks through the door of the tankard. Immediately the stench hits him like a punch in the face so hard that he starts to feel slightly ill and barely notices a cleric running to the bathroom (probably ill from the miasma of stench coming from this man). He notices the man taking a seat at a far table.

Next a pair of moon elves walk in. He’s not sure what to make about this but the male does seem to have an air of mystic power about him. This is gone however the female starts to complain to him. Not being interested in their family matters he stares down at his wine.

He’s about to mutter something to himself when a gnome walks in likes he owns the place garnering the attention of most of the patrons. When the gnome mentions his scar he starts to cringe and then relaxes quickly. “Nym is it? A piece of advice I wouldn’t go around asking people about their scars. While some may share a romantisized story about a battle they lost or barely one others will have many bad memories brought about with only you to for bringing them to the surface.” His face turns more calm. “My name is Tanis and I am a town guard here in Loudwater. Another tip I picked up due to the folly of others the waiteresses here hate it when you snap or call them miss or wench. If you want to talk like that you should head to the Fisher’s Friend on the docks.” Tanis then looks down at his drink. I hope Edge and the others arrive soon I’d like to deal with this mess quickly night watch is getting down right frigid.

Sometime after Nym’s arrival to the tavern, Valerian the Moon Elf and his sister Amarylle returned to the Tankard. Settling Amarylle and her bags of new purchases into a table along the far wall, Valerian gazed around reverently. Consulting his book again, he then walked in the direction of the town guardsman. His eyes fixed on the soot-covered beams in the ceiling and counting out steps quietly to himself.

“Seventeen,” he said upon reaching Tanis. “This is the table.”

Smiling courteously, he bowed to the Eladrin and Nym.

“This is the table,” he repeated. “I have journeyed a great distance and braved many hardships…” A quick sidelong glance at his sister smacking gum and trying on shoes… “to sit at this table. Please, may I?”

Keef entered the Tankard’s common room to find it bustling. He saw Tanis seated at a table with a moon elf. Both of them were regarding a gnome standing on the table before them. Smiling slightly at the eladrin’s apparent discomfort, he made his way across the room.

“Greetings, Tanis; it is good to see you again. I hope you can help me. I’m looking for a cleric of Ilmater.” He was momentarily distracted by a large, filthy human sitting at the rear of the common room. The man was clearly giving him the stink eye and making… biting motions? Strange.

He came back to his train of thought. “A young, human female. She has been summoned back to the Temple in Waterdeep, and I am to escort her.”

The gnome’s eyes widened. “Waterdeep?! Really? I have always wished to visit the City of Splendor! Please, may I accompany you as well? I have skills that may be useful on the journey!”

Now it was Keef’s turn to look uncomfortable as Tanis and the moon elf smiled. “Yes”, Tanis said, “I think that would be an excellent idea; don’t you, Keef? Your cleric is in the privy, and should be returning momentarily. Let me buy you a drink to toast your safe travels!”

Resigned, the half-orc sat. After flagging the barmaid for an ale, he chatted up the others as he waited for the cleric to return.

Making her way back through the bar, Taviaa stopped at Jubal’s table. She takes a deep breath of fresh air, and then bends over to speak to the fighter. “The group you said you were looking for is over there.” She subtly points with a gloved hand. “See, the beautiful elf with the flowing golden locks, piercing eyes that can see into your soul and the little butterflies dancing around his head. Oh, and the big ugly scar that matches yours. You need to go over there!” She straightens and walks over to the main table. Assuming that Jubal is following her.
Arriving at the table, she smiles. “Greetings, my name is Taviaa Haldura.” Glancing at Tanis, “I was instructed to meet you here, I am assuming along with these other brave adventurers.” Her smile takes in the rest of the party as she waits for Jubal to introduce himself. (Because she knows he followed her to the table!)

Keef stood up to address the cleric. “Greetings, Sister Haldura. My name is Keef, and I bring you a message from the Temple of Ilmater in Waterdeep.” He handed Taviaa a folded piece of fine parchment, sealed with blue wax in the symbol of Ilmater. He waited several seconds for her to open and read the message before continuing.

“I have been instructed to escort you back to Waterdeep, and place myself in your service for the duration of the journey. I have secured rations and supplies; we can leave as soon as you are ready.”

Behind him he heard a soft, rhythmic thumping. Keef turned to see Nym literally jumping up and down on the table trying to control himself, with a pleading look in his eyes. The half-orc sighed, then turned back to Taviaa. “Oh, and this is Nym. He will apparently be joining us on our journey.”

The tavern door swings open gentle, a slender figure with his cloak pulled low over his face, gracefully enters the tavern and takes a seat at the empty table in the corner. Flagging down the barmaid he orders a water, and casually drinks sitting alone observing the bustling tavern. Fryn does not indulge in things that impair the senses, not since leaving Menzoberranzan.
He watches the newcomers, and waits to see them settle in. He then notices the large ugly behemoth approaching Tanis. Unsure of the intentions of the beast of a man, Fryn positions himself in a better location to spring into action if needed and to try and determine what this large ugly man wants with Tanis. Cloak still low over his face, to hide his heritage, Fry listens intently with his hands close to the hilt of his scimitar in a non-threatening but very ready state.

Thronclaw's Interlude

The sun was just setting when the dead began to walk.

Thornclaw, a druid and recently named Warden of the Southwood, had met Tanis, an eladrin guardsman for the Town of Loudwater, at the western gate to give his report. He had crisscrossed the Southwood all day on business of his own and had seen nothing out of the ordinary. He reported the same to the guardsman.

Not one for chitchat, the druid was wrapping up his conversation and preparing to leave when the pair spotted a hooded figure loping towards them across the field from the wood’s edge. The figure was of average height, lithe and graceful, and wore a traveler’s cloak over leather armor. He hailed the pair and approached, pulling back his hood to reveal the visage of a half-orc.

“Greetings guardsman. My name is Keef, and I am a traveler from Waterdeep. On my way here I passed through a large cemetery on the far side of these woods when I chanced upon something curious. I heard voices in a mausoleum, and thinking it nothing but a mourner I respectfully kept my distance. But the voices got louder, and I realized it was but one voice, clearly in conversation with itself. The voice rose to a shriek, talking of ‘getting revenge on the town for failing her’ and other such things. Also, the word Necronomicon was uttered, before the voice became completely unintelligible and, I’m not proud to say, more than a bit frightening. I took my leave hastily and came directly here to warn you. I know it seems a fantastic tale, but I assure you that every word is completely true.”

The guardsman looked off into the distance. “Oh, I believe you traveler.” He nodded over the half-orc’s shoulder, and Keef and Thornclaw both turned to see three skeletons shamble out from the edge of the wood, heading directly for the town.

Thornclaw’s longbow appeared in his hands, and in a blink an arrow shot forth to strike the closest Skeleton and drop it to the ground. Keef pulled a hand crossbow from his belt and took more careful aim; the bolt struck a second skeleton in the forehead shattering his skull, knocking it flat on its back. The third skeleton came on, and from the woods several zombies emerged.

Tanis moved to intercept the closest zombie. He traded blows with it in a flash that left the zombie in pieces on the ground. The trio moved to intercept the rest of the invaders; while Tanis drew their attacks, Thornclaw slashed at their flanks while Keef picked them off with his crossbow or darted in with a sneak attack when circumstances allowed. In short order all the creatures lay dead at their feet.

Heavy footsteps announced the arrival of Captain Harrowleaf, Tanis’ superior, and a squad of guards. Tanis explained Keef’s story as well as what happened in the battle. Harrowleaf was familiar with the graveyard and knew that two members of the Windu family, whose mausoleum Keef encountered, were acolytes in the temple of Avandra. He requested Thornclaw to follow up with them, and Keef decided to tag along with the promise of a reward.

The pair called upon the temple and were introduced to Mada and Marwyn Windu. Mada was a paladin in training while his sister was learning the healing skills of a cleric. The two adventurers interviewed them and learned that their younger brother Nace had recently lost a fiancée and was overcome with grief. They also learned that the pair were pledged to the Marwyn as a pact the Windu family had made to atone for the sins of a distant relative; a necromancer of some disrepute who had caused no small amount of trouble in the Gray Vale centuries ago.

The group deduced that Nace must have somehow discovered some writing or artifact of this relative and used it to tap the power of the dark arts. The Windu siblings insisted on accompanying Thornclaw and Keef to the cemetery to investigate further.

It was full night by the time they arrived at the graveyard. Three large stone obelisks stood in front of a large, fenced-in mausoleum. Several men stood before the obelisks while more waited behind the decrepit wrought iron fence. They wore simple clothes and minimal armor, and carried simple weapons. Their eyes widened in fear at the appearance of the druid and his companions.

Thornclaw called ahead. “You there; stand down. We come with representatives of the Windu family, and we need to enter the mausoleum. Stand aside!”

The men before the obelisk looked somewhat cowed by the appearance of the shifter and his band. “We cannot yield. We are here to make sure you do not pass. The mausoleum must not be disturbed!”

The half-orc Keef spoke up. “We seek to end the threat of a necromancer who is meddling with powers beyond his control. We have no quarrel with you, and you will be allowed to leave peacefully if you stand aside. Either way, you will not stop us.”

Thornclaw shouted again. “Last chance! Stand aside!”

One of the rabble yelled back, “We can’t they have our families. I can’t say anymore. We won’t come after you but we can’t let you through.”

The men did not budge, and the battle was on. Thornclaw and Mada rushed the men while Keef skirted the battle, seeking to circle right around an obelisk to get a flanking position on the men. As he rounded the stone structure, he saw a heavily-armored fighter lurking in the shadows. The man saw him too and immediately pulled his sword. Keef fired his hand crossbow and hastily retreated.

Thornclaw and Mada were making quick work of the ruffians when the armored man attacked. A second armored fighter from behind another of the obelisks joined him in the fight. Besides being well protected, their weapons were of better quality and they clearly knew how to use them. Both Thornclaw and Mada shed blood to their weapons, and Marwyn rushed in to heal their wounds.

Keef re-entered the fight by backstabbing one of the two fighters. That man was quickly overwhelmed, and the party made quick work of his partner and the remaining ruffians. Turning their attention to those at the mausoleum, the party saw that the rabble were being used to keep the heroes from breaching the fence while two lightly armored men with slings stood behind waiting. Keef spotted another gap in the fence behind the slingers and stealthily began to make his way there. Thornclaw and Mada engaged the mob head on, fighting through the gap in the fence to access the mausoleum.

The slingers hurled missiles at the paladin and druid while the ruffians kept them from advancing. It looked to be a long battle of attrition until Keef backstabbed one of the slingers. He had made his way patiently around the fight without being noticed, and now was in the face of the slingers, effectively nullifying them. Without the rain of missiles, Thornclaw and Mada made quick work of the remaining blockers.

After a short rest, the party gathered itself and entered the mausoleum. It was a large structure in the shape of a cross. Grave niches yawned open along the sides of the mausoleum, and at the rear a cowled figure stood before a glowing red altar.

Marwyn called out. “Nace? Is that you? Mada and I are here. We beg you to stop this madness and return with us!”

In answer, five figures rose from the floor of the crypt, forming a wall between the heroes and the altar. As they moved closer, the party saw that they were more undead, skeletons and zombies raised by the necromancer.

“Fools!” The hooded speaker shouted. “You cannot hope to resist the- urk!” The speech was cut off as one of Thornclaw’s arrows slammed into his shoulder. “You will pay for your- arrrgh!” Keef’s crossbow bolt hit him in the gut, drawing blood and merciful silence.

The undead wall advanced, and Mada and Thornclaw moved to intercept. Behind him, his sister raised her holy symbol and called upon the power of Avandra. As she prayed, her symbol glowed with light, halting the undead advance and forcing them back. The light grew ever brighter until three of the five creatures burst into flames and collapsed into heaps on the floor. The rest of the party made short work of the remaining two.

Nace stepped out from behind the altar, flanked by two more of the undead. As he walked towards the party, he raised his hands to summon more of the creatures to his side. The party took advantage of the short lull to heal and fortify themselves as best they could before charging the necromancer. They exploited their speed versus the undead to flank and strike repeatedly. They whittled down the undead horde faster than the necromancer could create them, until finally they were left facing only him. Marwyn called for mercy as Thornclaw struck the final blow, leaving the necromancer broken and bleeding on the floor, but alive.

Keef was eyeing the open crypts, wondering how he might surreptitiously check them for valuables. Marwyn caught his eye with a grin. “The dead have already been disturbed, and you’ve done them a great service by ending this threat. I’m sure they’d be more than willing to part with their earthly treasures in return.” Keef literally skipped off to begin the looting.

Mada turned to Thornclaw. “My sister speaks true; you have done a great service to us, our family and to the town. We will be sure they hear of it. We also thank you for sparing Nace; I’m sure with our love and Avandra’s help he can be made to see the error of his ways. He lost his way, but there is good in him; I know it.

The party bound the necromancer, gathered their gear and began the journey back to Loudwater. On their way through the graveyard Keef stopped to look at one of the well armed men. He noticed that he was wearing a tabbard with the insgnia of a back with two daggers sticking out of it.

Upon their return Marwyn and Mada brought their brother to the temple for healing. Keef and Thornclaw reported back to Tanis. When he mentioned about the rabble being afraid of the their families being hurt Tanis thanked them and said that he would report back to Capitan Harrowind.


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