Monday, June 12, 2017

Nine from Neverwinter - part nine

Cast of Characters:

  • Azun – A Moon Elf Archer hailing originally from Deepingdale, but fletching his arrows in Neverwinter for at least the past 30 years. He lead many of Neverwinter to safety during the Cataclysm of Mount Hotenow, and is regarded as a local folk hero.

  • Rungalor – A rough and tumble Barbarian Minotaur from parts unknown ...

  • Rollo Rutterkin – A Halfling Thief and long time companion of Rungalor.

  • Kirok – An Uthgardt Barbarian Shaman on a visionquest, serving as our guide.

  • Gizig – A Silver Dragonborn Warrior with official connections to Neverwinter's militia.

  • Hanzo – A Kozokuran Swordsman who journeyed to Neverwinter with Adrix of Highmoon.

  • Arcandius – A Thayvian Wizard who escaped his homeland with a mysterious tome of power.

  • Adrix – The Wandering Sage and Chronicler of this tale who brought this ragtag group of misfits together. He has traveled extensively as a Bardic Storyteller throughout The Realms, including The Unapproachable East, and is seeking to know more about The North.

  • The Storm Caller – A Calishite Gensia, powerful in the ways of Elemental Sorcery.

  • Kagan – A Half-Orc Fighting Man.

3rd of Mirtul, Year of the Ageless One; 447 North Reckoning

Take me to Phandalin NOW” Gundren griped from his makeshift bed, nearly shaking the rafters of Riedoth's cabin. Arcandius and Rollo did their best to make the Dwarf comfortable, but he wasn't having any of it.

Should my brother, Tharden , return from our mine with news, he'll seek me out in Phandalin – not here in gods know where in the middle of the woods!”

About that mine,” Rollo started; “You do realize our efforts to save your life go well beyond what you originally agreed to pay us to cart a bunch of mining supplies to a town in the middle of no where?”

Take this thieving Hin from beyond my sight!” Gundren bellowed.

Unfazed by the Dwarf's outburst, Rollo continued. “The way I see it, as do me mates, we took arrows from goblins, dallied with a Banshee, tussled with a dragon, fought with cultists, and took on a fortified keep to save your ungrateful arse.”

Gundren glared at the Halfling.

Rollo continued, “You owe us way more than what you agreed to pay us and we want 50% of the mines take.”

Gundren laughed so hard he fell into a fit of choking. He then considered the Halfling's words, as he noticed none of his rescuers objected to Rollo's claim. “Ten percent and no more.”

You must be joking,” said Rollo.

Ten percent and no more.”

The bargaining and haggling on Rollo's part was impressive, but the Shield Dwarf would not budge on his offering. Even without his beard he was as shrewd as any full bearded Dwarf in matters of gold. Finally, Rollo agreed to the sum, deciding that something was better than nothing.

4th of Mirtul, Year of the Ageless One; 447 North Reckoning

The next morn we were off to Phandalin. The morning air was crisp and the snow still lay heavy on the ground. Great herds of deer and elk were evident by their trails in the snow, but none were actually sighted. Riedoth's breakfast of biscuits and rabbit gravy weighed heavy on my stomach, though I can't speak for anyone else, as the journey was a quiet and uneventful one.

Upon arriving in town, we went straight to Gundren's home. It was a sizable house made of local and imported stone. The main room where we gathered was much like a mini hall with a great table in the center surrounded by chairs for guests, for clansmen, personal friends, and professional associates alike. With some help, Gundren took a seat at the head of the table and spoke.

There has been no word from my brother about our mine. I have here a map to the Wave Echo Cave, and you must go and take notice of our holdings. There may be foul play afoot since Tharden has not returned. I would go myself were I not so gravely injured. The task falls to you.” And with that, we were off again; trudging through snow into the wilderness … We should really invest in horses at some point soon …

Adventuring, such as we are doing, is seldom full of excitement. No one tells of the long uneventful journeys from the ground level. It's always trumpets blaring, to arms-to arms, swords clashing on shields and such. I suppose no one would set off on these expeditions if the truth were told. Meh … Just an old man's muttering through soggy boots.

It was twilight when the group came into view, approaching us all wrapped in bandages and shabby cloaks. A man rang a bell when he spied us, calling for us to clear the way. Several plague doctors could be seen, swinging sensors of incense as they strode along with the damned. The group bore a curious standard, a large cross was born on the back of one of the lepers, topped with a ram's skull and a filthy sheared pelt of wool. We gave the diseased a wide birth and asked them no questions as they went by.

Shortly thereafter, we made camp in a small clearing in the woods. Azun, who had little need for sleep took first watch. Arcandius stayed up later than the rest of us, studying his book of arcana. The only sound that repetitiously shook the camp was the damnable Minotaur's deep snoring. I thought to myself of Arcandius' studying, the secret knowledge he delighted in and felt a sense of longing of my own … Could I, a bard dedicated to the teachings of Oghma, that is to know lore and share it with others; could, or rather should, I heed Mystra's call?

The woman's scream in the night was as blood curdling as it was desperate. I bolted up straight away and Azun was already on the move in the direction of the sound. The party rose to arms … except Rungalor, who yawned, pawed at his blanket, and rolled over. Rollo kicked the Beastman and, leisurely, he brought himself out of slumber's grasp.

Kirok grabbed Rung's arm and pointed, “The scream came from this way, but I've not your eyes for the dark.” Azun was already out of sight.

Another scream pierced the night, just as desperate as the first; would we get to this lass before whatever assailed her did? … Only Savros knows, Tymora be with us ...

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