the Final Countdown

From Duchy to Grand Duchy

Back in Romhold, the group has settled into a comfortable routine of rest and relaxation, between some slender times of training. The Duke of Daggerford, lord Greatshout, comes to visit one evening; for which a great feast is held. But first, Marle, King of the Marsh (Baron Romsh’s appointed ranger) has some reports for the Baron’s attention:
“A number of Selune worshippers in the area; shall I summon them here to your audience? They seem to be squatters of a sort at the moment; but your drawing of the ire of the priestess of Shar seems to have gotten their attention.” To which, Baron Romsh would like a meeting indeed, to be settled at a future date.

“Secondly, I have found evidence of a druid’s circle. Shall I investigate this circle further?” Yes, Baron Romsh wishes Marle to step lightly, though.

“Thirdly, I have found black dragon droppings. I know this as dragons are my chosen foes; and I think there may be a bronze or copper dragon in the marsh as well. Shall I track these creatures to their lair?” Well, we already knew there were at least four black dragons, before we slew one, Vamortikin. Don’t go looking for trouble when we don’t want to stir up too much of it; there is at least a Deep dragon connected somehow to this sunken temple of Shar.

“Fourthly, Ive located a flumph village. Thoughthere seems to be evidence of withering about the swamp…I also met Redeye…there seems to be evidence of Talos worship coming to the advanced lizardmen. I suggest you cut ties with this Redeye.” To which the Baron must investigate further, himself.

After licking his fingers and smelling some of the fried blooming sweet onion, the duke lets another battered, crumbling bite into his maw, and then lets out a chuckle. "I do love these sweet onions…a onion, which smells like a rose! How fascinating, what magic. They are delectable. Mmmm….well. On to greater business. But before we talk more…to what have you been doing, and up to? Tell me some of these adventures you have had. I hear Alexjo’s men are now long gone to the shores of Tethyr, to support the future queen of the land. Perhaps you might contemplate enlarging your own forces, then. Or at least, stocking your armory and preparing the militia. Let us hope you have a innovative idea to quell the evil beginning to rise once more around Dragonspear castle.

I have found greater favor with the Lords of Waterdeep, and so wish to focus my efforts north of the river. I will name you a Grand Baron, for which if I rise to Lord of this region, you shall be Duke of your lands, and cement yourself into a Duchy. I will take you on a ride through, if you wish, of your new lands, if you wish to manage them for me. You knew them before, two years ago almost when you came to me a fledgeling militiaman, and still stinking so of the Luskans."

Romsh’s steward leans in, and suggests now would be a good time for the Baron, and the group, to evaluate their gifts to Lord Greatshout, for all that has come to assist and benefit them, much of it has come at the grace and will of the Duke’s favor over them. After a gift of Dwyerwaen, the Elvish blade which was taken from Baron Agwain by Gardle, as the group hunted the baron down after he had kidnapped Duke Pwyll’s sister, the tale-telling and sharing began in earnest; papers drawn out and the official blessings given of the Duke.

“Shall I ride with you then, and your lady of the house, or will you like to do so yourself? It is important, for the folk to see their extension of my will south along the Trade Way.”

First passing to Gillian’s Hill, an entourage of Chassenee, the lawyer of Tyr; Henry, the castellan; Romsh’s wife (who decided she wanted a gold-gilded carriage and some money set aside for a trip to Waterdeep to see and visit all the nobility there), the eight men at arms of Romsh’s colours, Boffer and Romsh set out along with some members of the Bonded Swords. They stopped in at Torleth’s treasures, where Essom acquired a Viziers hat that was thriving off of a Ring of the ram that’s enchantment was breaking down, but feeding the strange symbiotic lifeform. He purchased the hat for 1500gp. As well, Gardle picked out a Girdle of the lions. Some small items were purchased, baubles really, that Romsh’s wife wanted; but the group passed over a Spear of Vix, taken from another far off realm in the universe. Also, Gardle, for 500gp, purchased a item from Earth, a gem known as ‘Cubic Zirconia’.

Moving onward, they stayed at the Holdfast inne, in Liam’s Hold. The group was shadowed by a group of three trolls following the “Troll King”, a troll which was enchanted to be ageless as well as immune to normal blades and weapons by his service to Larloch the lich king. The “Troll King” was hunting a rogue by the name of Dakkun Blackblade, a wanted Justifier of that same ranger order of Waterdeep who was accused of a number of crimes, including (1) abandonment of duty, (2) treason against the order resulting in multiple deaths of subordinates, (3) failure to follow chain of command, and (4) cowardice in the field of battle, which left his unit slaughtered. The truth of the incident is known only to he and one other; but since he fled into the High Moor, he has not been seen since. He was hunted by the Troll King, though he had intended to lead them into the Misty Forest to be slain by Elf patrol, instead the Troll King slaughtered the Elf party which he had guided them to. With help from Boffer, Gardle, and Romsh, the Troll King is dead, and Dakkun now travels with them. Samuel Doortap was hypnotized by Gardle to not truly notice Dakkun’s features resembling anyone wanted; now all that is left is for Dakkun to sneak into Doortap’s office, and make sure his wanted poster exists no more. Dakkun has swore his service to Romsh.

There, at Liam’s Hold, the group was approached by one of Baron Cromm’s (Baron Cromm being the prior Baron of the Marsh) hedge knights, a old and chivalrous knight named Lostogar Raomskill, who has twenty men at arms and was intent upon bringing Baron Romsh’s lady to his hold for safekeeping; he had been approached to join the growing band of insurgents rallying behind Baron Agwain against Romsh, but instead chose to approach Romsh of the foul misdoing, and to offer protection to his lady. Later, Baron Romsh would discover that Lostogar was intercepted en route, and the Lady of Romhold seized, leaving he and his men at arms under spell and paralytic poisons to lay in the path where they fell.

From Liam’s Hold, they approached the hamlet of Bowshot. However, on route, they discovered a Harper agent, laying by the road, his leg splinted but bleeding out; his hip smashed with a cudgel; he was a Bard Skald, a Illuskan by the looks of it.

“Ho there, good folk! Me and my party were hereabouts, looking for the rumored entrance to the Underdark about; both the hill for which there was rumor of Phaerimm about; but also the entrance near Bowshot, where rumor abounded of a silver mine, hidden and stolen goods, and manspiders as well. We serve those that Harp…it would behoove you and their blessings to lend aid, if you will. At least send me back to Liam’s Hold, to recuperate myself.

We were set upon by a manotaur. Look for them on their well beaten paths. They are quick and exceedingly powerful. This one, strangely enough, has minotaurs in obedience, perhaps it slew the minotaur elders for its control of that band, but I cannot say. I was knocked out…woke up, bleeding out, in fact. I came to in the dark forest maze of the beast; our priestess of Mystra healed me, but it fell upon her quickly. I cut at it, and then fled…the mission is more important than a gloryless end. These creatures are wholly evil, destroy them, and serve the efforts of good as well as those that Harp."

After dispatching the manotaurs and the minotaurs, they came across the bodies of the Harpers, giving them a proper burial before looting the bone altar of the manotaur. To the end of finding the manotaur forest, a elusive hamadryad skirted around the ranger Dakkun and Baron Romsh, instead coming to speak to Gardle to set them on the right path to find the manotaur lair.

The creature had the broadsword Shazzelim, for which it unwittingly served the needs of in the slaying of the mostly Harper adventuring group; the two handed axe Tunnelrunner; it hurled two javelins of lightning and bore a Elven dragonshield.

Resting and healing that morning, a long breakfast was taken before Romsh led his group into Bowshot; to meet the Baron Agwain who had taken over the Bowshot inne and set trap for Romsh, to have him sign away his “Grand Baron” status to Agwain himself. What would transpire after…

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