the Final Countdown

Now we can take a breath...before plunging into the Deep.

Juxril Thammercast of Waterdeep, considered the ranking and most elder of the priests of Shaundakul, teaches Alexjo the ways of Shaundakul at the Plinth there, and approved of his taking a mentor in the way of Shaundakul.

Shaundakul (pronounced SHAWN-da-kul), the Rider of the Winds, is the Faerûnian lesser deity of traveling and travelers, exploration, caravans, the wind as well as mining and miners. Recently, Lord Ao gifted him with the portfolio of portals and portal-walking. He manifests bodily as a bearded man who wears a traveler’s cape and is armed with a greatsword called the Sword of Shadows.

Relationships: The goddesses Beshaba and Shar are in opposition to Shaundakul.
Shaundakul is an old deity, once an intermediate deity popular in the Moonsea, whose divine status predates the creation of Beshaba and Tymora from Tyche. Shaundakul’s church collapsed and his followers dwindled in the aftermath of the fall of Myth Drannor, and he dwindled in status to the rank of demipower. Beshaba later used his name to promote discord among the nomads of Anauroch, who now curse him as the Treacherous Lurker in the Sands. Since the Time of Troubles, Shaundakul has risen back to the level of lesser power, due to Waukeen’s absence during which some of her followers turned to Shaundakul. He has allied himself with deities such as Akadi, Mielikki and her allies, Selûne, Tymora, and the more daring members of the Seldarine. He opposes Shar because he dislikes secrets and enjoys spreading the word of hidden places. He battles with Beshaba for the suffering she has inflicted in his name.

Clergy and Temples
Members of the clergy are expected to live off the land and work as guides and protectors of travelers, caravans, and mining expeditions. Many serve as guides for adventuring companies or as explorers. A very few are Harpers. All seek to visit the scattered shrines of Shaundakul (particularly the great one in Myth Drannor) as frequently as possible and to construct new ones when they acquire sufficient resources. Ever since Shaundakul added portals to his portfolio, his clerics have been tasked with locating and identifying portals that would be useful for trade and exploration.

Shaundakul prefers to be venerated at shrines, most of which are uninhabited and in remote places. Typically, a shrine to Shaundakul is a stone dais built atop a high place, crowned with a stone seat or throne, and accompanied by one or more stone pillars pierced with holes through which the wind whistles. Many such shrines exist throughout the Moonsea and the Stonelands, some of them over a thousand years old. Shaundakul is not commonly worshiped within cities and he has few formal temples as a result. Because the clergy members love to wander, his few temples constantly have new clerics arrive as others leave.

Shaundakul’s clerics wear a dark swirling cloak over garb appropriate for the trail, and favor dark colors and silver in general. Many wear their holy symbol on the back of their gauntlet (usually leather or chain mail).

Shaundakul’s church is loosely organized, and its branches are largely independent. There is little in the way of formal hierarchy, although those who served the Rider of the Winds prior to the Godswar hold positions of great respect in the church. Since the Time of Troubles, several military orders have been founded in the name of Shaundakul. The Fellowship of the Next Mountain is an order of rangers and clerics who typically work alone, blazing trails in the uncharted wilderness areas of the Sword Coast North and Moonsea North. The Knights of the Shadow Sword are an elite order of fighters and rangers based in Shaundakul’s Throne and dedicated to cleansing Myth Drannor of the evil that haunts its streets and ruins. Initially, they are fortifying the ancient Myth Drannan temple as a base of operations and sending out scouts to reconnoiter the ruined city. The Riders of the West Wind are an order of clerics and a few rangers who hire themselves out as a mercenary company to guard caravans heading through uncharted wilderness to distant lands.

Their holy day is the Windride, which is celebrated on the 15th day of Tarsakh. On this day, Shaundakul causes all his clerics to assume gaseous form at dawn, if they cannot wind walk on their own, so that they are carried with the wind. They return to normal (and are lowered safely to the ground) at dusk, usually in some place they have never been before.

Dogma
Spread the teachings of the Helping Hand by example. Work to promote him among traders, especially trailblazers who seek out new lands and new opportunities. Unearth and resanctify ancient shrines of Shaundakul. Ride the wind, and let it take you wherever it blows. Aid those in need, and trust in the Helping Hand. Seek out the riches of the earth and sea. Journey to distant horizons. Be the first to see the rising sun, the mountain peaks, the lush valleys. Let your footsteps fall where none have tread.

Anhur (pronounced an-hur), also known as Rumathep, Ramathant in Thay, and Ramatep in Unther, is a wise and peace-loving deity. He remains ever vigilant in his role of protecting Mulhorand from evil, but still finds the time to appreciate those he defends.

History
Anhur and his church were highly esteemed in Mulhorand prior to the Orcgate Wars, but fell out of favor after the death of Re. He has been blamed for most of Mulhorand’s military failures by the followers of Horus-Re, and the two churches remain rivals to this day.
As the orc hordes surged forward, emboldened by the victory of Gruumsh over Re, Anhur devised a counter assault that eventually led to the end of the Orcgate Wars. During the Time of Troubles, Anhur secured the portfolio of the recently slain Untheric deity Ramman. He forced Hoar, who committed the deicide, to leave Unther once again; Hoar actively seeks revenge against Anhur for the act. He also distinguished himself by confronting the sahuagin deity Sekolah during this period of history. The sahuagin have increased their raids since the Time of Troubles against these people. The church of Anhur suffered numerous political attacks originating from the clergy of Horus-Re during the Time of Troubles. Anhur has regained much of the status lost during this period through aggressive actions against his foes.

Relationships
Anhur’s views often come into conflict with those of Horus-Re, both of whom seek to guide Mulhorand and its people. His enemies include Set, Sekolah, and Hoar, and due to Mulhorand’s continued expansion he may come into conflict with Tempus. Anhur and Isis consider each other to be allies, despite increased conflicts due to similarities in their portfolios after Anhur absorbed that of Ramman upon his death. He and Nephthys often work together to thwart threats from nearby Thay, and from time to time is romantically involved with Sharess.

Avatar
Heaven’s Agent
Anhur typically appears as a Mulan human with four arms and dark eyes. His skin is typically red in color, his hair appearing dark, and he usually has a short beard that’s often braided. He carries a lance in his right arms, and wears scale or lamellar mail and a headdress sporting three plumes. In this form, Anhur has the ability to transform his lance into a falchion, and will sometimes capture an opponent’s weapon to use against them in his left hands. He is also able to command normal animals, though magical and enchanted creatures may resist his will.

Other manifestations
Anhur’s will is often made known through the actions of animals, such as lions, falcons, and trained war beasts or guard animals, as well as the uncontrolled actions of war chariots.
Lion: Individuals hostile to Mulhorand may witness a large lion watching them on the horizon. No matter the distance traveled toward it, this manifestation always remains unmoving and out of reach.
Weather: Particularly dangerous enemies of Mulhorand may find themselves accompanied by a dark storm cloud overhead. This manifestation will strike out at the interlopers, and continue to follow them until they leave the region. Anhur may manifest as rolling thunder if one of his followers encounters resistance while attempting to carry out his will. If this warning proves insufficient, the follower may be struck by a bolt of lightning that inflicts no damage but marks the ground. A Mulhorandi army on the march may hear a steady rumbling of thunder that serves to restore their endurance while traveling.
Ghostly Lance: Armies composed of Anhur’s followers may encounter a ghostly lance standing upright on a battlefield. This manifestation boosts the moral of his followers and acts as a rallying point during the conflict.

Church of Anhur

Heaven’s Agent
The position of priest in the church of Anhur is hereditary; members belong to the House of Ramathant, and can claim at least one divine incarnation of Anhur among their ancestors. Anhur’s clergy is composed entirely of humans native to Mulhorand.
Temples to Anhur are solidly built structures design to repel invaders. They are continuously stocked with equipment and provisions in the event they are besieged.

The center of power of the church of Anhur is located in Sultim, the location of the Blood Fortress. Worship of the Falcon of War is strongest in Mulhorand, but temples dedicated to Anhur can also be found in Unther and Chessenta. For Alexjo, the overpriest by the name of Sevram Ramathant gave him his indoctrination, and then turned him over to another priest for understudy abroad. Sevram at the time of Alexjo’s entrance to the church is lvl 11.

Worshipers

Martial skills are an important factor in the lives of the clergy and followers of the Church of Anhur. These clerics spend much of their time preparing for battle, as well as training the soldiers of Mulhorand. They focus on executing daring maneuvers and plans in the hopes of increasing the glory of their nation. Divine spell casters devoted to Anhur pray for their spells at dawn.

Typical garb for Anhur’s clergy includes a breastplate and collar, shaped in the figure of a lion for high-ranking priests, as well as a white linen skirt known as a kalasiris and sandals laced to knee height. A headdress and collar are also common. These priests often dye the skin red to emulate their deity and typically shave their heads. A set of three blue circles painted on their forehead serves as a symbol of their calling. They often tattoo themselves to commemorate personal achievements and victories. The quality of a priest’s clothing reflects that individual’s power and standing. When preparing for combat followers of Anhur favor scale or lamellar mail, but will also readily select the best equipment for the situation.

Affiliated orders

Informal organizations are common among the followers of Anhur, especially with those that serve in the nation’s military.
Guardians of Skuld: Formed since the Time of Troubles and led by the church of Anhur, this organization counts followers of Anhur, Osiris, and Isis among its members.
Order of the Watchful Lion: This organization serves as Mulhorand’s first line of defense. Its members often scout neighboring regions and report important events, areas, and people to their superiors. Alexjo is indoctrinated in nominal membership in this Order.

Celebrations and festivals

The clergy of Anhur often celebrates the anniversaries of the important battles and victories of Mulhorand. These are times of great revelry within the citadels of the Falcon of War, and competitive events testing the participant’s physical prowess are often held at these times.

Time of Storms: The month of Tarsakh, known as the Time of Storms in Mulhorand, is a month of celebration for the followers of Anhur. The deity is said to patrol the nation’s border regions at this time, and in celebration of this Anhur’s clergy participates in a nonlethal combat tournament that continues until the month ends. The tournament concludes on Greengrass, and the victor is awarded the title of Champion of Anhur for the next year. It is said that the victor will have a divine +1 to hit and +1 to damage for the rest of his days upon victory.
Remembrance Ritual: A time to remember and reflect upon those warriors that have fallen in service to Mulhorand over the past year, the Remembrance Ritual is celebrated on Highharvestide. The celebration concludes with participants praising Anhur for the recent victories Mulhorand has achieved.

~Scene 1, managing the Realm before heading to the portal.
After so much adventure, from Illefarn and so quickly to rush off to Dunador, it is good to take a breath…and collect oneself after so many adventures. How will Alexjo get to Mulhurond and then over to Waterdeep, then down to Daggerford quickly in about two months time?

Chancellor Matlocke: "Well, good to meet you again, Duke Krillick. How may I answer any of your questions about the Duchy? You have inherited Aimar’s primary estate; his others, by the laws of our kingdom, are spread amongst his relatives. This is a large hold; with four hundred peasants who owe you obeisance. Duke Aimar’s lands are rich with wheat, livestock, and a mill. The value of his land’s yield varies between 100 to 600 gold a month, and this excess after providing for the maintenance by your Duchy Priest will be kept here at Montinelle; as well and along with your monthly Duke salary from the kingdom will be channelled into my own account; minus a 500gp a month due for your services in the Lawmaking and Orderkeeping roles which you are due to command when you return to Dunador. There is a great deal I can teach you about the Laws of our land; but Dunador is a well ordered nation and needs very little regulating. Except that there are a number of immediate issues requiring your hand:

Firstly, a merchant from Calaunt is seeking compensation for a raid which took place on the roads; he claims that a large mob of people assaulted him and his guards and overran his five-wagon carriage of fruit and vegetables he purchased from the hill villages, and stole a large herd of goats, as well as taking his oxen to eat.
“It is true, my lord Krillick, we took the oxen to eat. And we took the vegetables and fruit, as well. But we was starving and we tried to offer fair trade with stone and mageberries, the rare spell component that grows nearby our village. We paid for the vegetables and fruit…at fair market price…and he says oh, further near Dunthrane the price would fetch higher, and we best be off. So we threw him some gold and a little bit of dung and rocks, the gold a fair price for all of it, and we’s helped ourselves to the food, and ate his oxen for ourselves and punish him square. The wagons still off the road for him to come collectz.” The small hamlet owes the Duchy 120 gold over the course of a few years, though they will have help from the duchy granaries.

“Secondly, there is the matter of the tax collection, which has not come in over a month. Four tax collectors have dissapeared; rumoredly they worked for Duke Aimar or Lord Edrin is said, taking gold directly and skipping past the Duchy Tally. The King has claimed Aimar’s wealth to compensate as well as Edrins to help pay, but we are behind. I would suggest a Armor and Weapon tax, whereby 1 silver will be charged per month for a suit of armor and 1 gold a month per weapon of war. This will discourage, of course, further brigandry and quell a possible rebellion of the frustrated people. It will also place more power in the hands of the troops. What say you?” Refused.

“Lastly, a small group of Ilmatari curates and healers were accosted on the road, and three were killed by a number of peasant folk who cursed them after the Ilmatari offered their assistance to heal those harmed by a raid of gnolls and a giant, but the Ilmatari had refused to raise a hand in defense of the hamlet. They ask that they be given guard and the right to establish a shrine in the village. This will obviously enrage the people but it will honor the church of Ilmater.” The Ilmatari were granted allowance to build their shrine, and a Duchy guard placed there to enforce it.
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Upon return to the Romholt, the Krii priest approaches Romsh.
“I received your message. Such broad training of the smokepowder weapon is forbidden outside of Lantan. I know you did not know of this, so I will forgive the boldness of your request. Perhaps though your four men at arms may be trained in the musket use; to you as well. And I have thought of your idea, and had the schemata drawn up for the axe, sword, and spear blade extensions for the muskets. This is a good idea; Gond blesses even the simplest professions like yours with his divine touch.”

“This lieutenant of yours, Boffer, is quite adamant that a Dwarven clergy be invited here as well, to learn from the Krii and to share in the endeavor of preparing this Barony for defensecraft. However, you should think about the current political situation; the Dwarves, Halflings and even Gnomes of this region, as well as Elves, are all seeming divided against the Humans. But, I have modified the ballistas to be double bolted; as well, the swivel platforms allow for 360 degree arcs of fire.” The lizardfolk shaman, Redeye, will be allowed to come and learn under Vicker.

“Korin and Duke Pwyll are due to meet soon; there seems to be a large contingent of enraged human nobles beginning to build banner behind the knight of Torm and the priest of Tyr I understand that you spurned. They saytthat this Lord Elorfindar fellow is remaining neutral, even if the Elves of Laughing Hollow have strongly allied with the Dwarves. If you are to interfere in this coming conflict on one side or the other, I would suggest that you prepare your militia. This barony has no standing armory. Considering there are over six hundred souls, a third of which can wield weapons and armor, perhaps it would be wise to make a large purchase of armor, weapons, and ranged implements of war. A number of ex-Zhentilar out of Darkhold have arrived; twenty seem to be sturdy and skilled warriors. As well, a number of a few humanoids have taken to the roadside. They have a motley assortment of family; there are perhaps thirty fighting adults. Unusual as there are two firbolg giants and one hill giant; some half-ogres, a ogre, a few orcs and even orogs. I suggest caution; we would not want to be seen as that you may harbor ANY possible evil intent.” The group of questionables were sent away.

“Your steward has some accounts requiring some justice. The first is a argument over land; a large crabapple tree bordered on one hamlet farm with another one of the same hamlet; but a greedy horse ate too much and died. The horse’s owner demands that he be compensated the 25 gold as value, and the 100 gold for the horse’s keeping all its life. But he chopped down the crabapple tree to keep any of his other livestock to eat, and the owner of the tree says that the loss of his tree makes them equal. He instead claims that for the loss, and the horse’s stupidity not being his fault, he be given the eldest daughter of the farmer to his own thirdson, along with the approriate dowry.” Depending on the choice Romsh takes, the orchard farmer will offer the eldest daughter to Romsh. (Wise choice for the love of the people, but poor one politically.) Romsh agreed and tooked the girl as his wife.

“You were out of town while here in the Hold a ox crushed a young toddler underfoot. The offending ox was owned by John Sebastion, who wishes compensation from you for 9 gold to purchase another ox, since the ox was not given a fair trial. The law of Chauntea, worshipped by many of the farmfolk, reads : “If an ox gore a man or a woman that they die, then the ox shall be surely stoned, and his flesh shall not be eaten.” John Sebastian blamed the child’s mother for her discrepancy, and claimed the soul of the child weighed on her heart, not his. His house was partially burnt and a number of vandal acts that not even Sherriff Doortap put a stop to.”

“Another case:
The Plaintiff: Potato, mandrake, and mushroom growers of Autun, hamlet of the Baron’s lanceloss.
The Defendant: Rats
The Charge: Burglary of potato – When the impudent rats failed to appear in court, a young lawyer of Tyr by the name of Chassenee from visiting Daggerford was appointed to defend the rodents. He seems determined to make a name for himself in court – Chassenee first argued that the case involved all the rats in barony, therefore they must ALL appear in the court – when they failed to appear in accordance with their summons, he argued that under the law, the rats were entitled to protection to and from court, so not appeared as they were scared of being caught by wild cats on route to court.
I suggest we retain this bold man for our future court cases against the Lord’s Alliance!” Yes, and it will cost 60 gold a month to retain his services.

“The town apothecary will speak on the behalf of a fourteen year old maiden in town who claims to have been raped by the captain of your mercenary forces. He returned the next morning after a bad exchange with the girl; apparently he paid her gold for her gift of the bedding but when he returned the next morning she refused him, and thus he desired the bedding and raped her. But no one is present who may make ruling; the girl and her father have sought refuge in Daggerford. Duke Pwyll will not make a ruling unless it is known you would not return. Shall we begin a proper court hearing?”
“I am a proper noble of my people. If I have done wrong, then my god will fail me in combat. Instead of court, I call upon anyone wishing to die to champion her cause. Or get out of my way and let me be on with my business.” The Black Company now answers directly to Romsh since he killed Ietos in noble combat.
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Scene with King Korin and Pwyll. To the shock of onlookers, King Korin is wielding a axe merely with the name of the great Axe known as the Axe of the Dwarflords, but in gold. It signifies his desire to claim the axeblade. Bardic lore -20 reveals that legend bespeaks it can bring both greatness and doom, to whom, the wielder or its foes, or maybe even both. The gods are directly involved in such a artifact. Boffer will recount the tale of the axe for Romsh later.
Dunador noble coat at arms for Gardle, Alexjo, and Krillick. Do their men at arms and guard follow them around?
Scenes of Baron Romsh annexing further south?
The annexation attempt by Dunador…trade from the Golden Way to Waterdeep by a much faster and direct route? Failed by Krillick; priests and templars of Helm as well as the Waterdeep forces have made it clear the portal is owned by the Lord’s Alliance.
Ievos will offer that he may get a good bargain for a number of the Elven items he carries, but whether with him or his people, he will retrieve them unless the Elven people do not have use for them. As well, Ievos will recieve a visit from Elorfindar.
The Phull fishing village is completed; but to acquire fighting ships and even river to coastal cogs, Romsh can use his guild membership to go there to Waterdeep to purchase crew and ships.
To secure the coast further, an armada can be formed to travel down the coastline and eradicate some of the pirates preying on the trade around Waterdeep (adventure hook; probably bounties or allies; but the pirate villages as well as the pirate ships have to be dealt with)
Two months of gambling for Aaron
Wedding for Sarah: 640 gold to feed and serve the entire Barony; remove one henchmen. Particular training for her? She has Agriculture x2, Cooking x2, and Intimidation. She speaks common and Chondathan.
Weapons, armor, training for the Barony militia were purchased.

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