the Final Countdown

Agwain, Weredragons, and Flumphs oh my!!!

Meeting with Agwain, it was clear that he had collected a number of small Barons with the intent to wrangle power into their own hands, but Agwain seemed the perpetrator; and in league with the Countess, who had kidnapped from the Baronet Lostoagar, Romsh’s wife. However, things did not go well once Romsh sprung the trap that Agwain had set; pitting three hired Calimshani assassins to strike, and Agwain began to lose control. Inside the inne they met with Agwain at, chaos and violence struck outward; all the while the hired Victor Keybridge exchanged mental salvos with Gardle.

Within minutes Gardle and Victor left it at a draw; with the price of 2000 gold levied against Gardle by the psion to leave the tenebrous situation. Both Agwain and Romsh were reduced to staggering wounds; and outside, Romsh’s castellan ordered a failed volley of musket fire, and two minutes of intense combat that thankfully ended in little bloodshed. The spoils, aside from the magic items the group collected, were left as loot and payment, some taken by the locals and others by Romsh’s men at arms; and the other Barons sent to the winds. To get his wife back, Romsh brought Agwain along in a prisoner exchange to the Countess.

Loot from Agwain and his men at arms, hirelings and followers:
Bottle of refreshment
Crystal unicorn / Snuff box of platinum and gold / Dwarf-face goblet of garnet (taken from Manotaur)
Blunderbuss
Bone of animation 182
Seeds of growth 1040
Band of healing (Elven), which was donated to the priest of Lathander in town, Liam Sunmist of Daggerford
Cloak of Lathander, Amulet of Lathander; both donated to the priest of Lathander, Liam Sunmist, in Daggerford
Ilbratha, 2-hand sword, claimed by Dakkun
2 potions of curing
Elquillar 1364, claimed by Dakkun

However, the plans culmination was all a ruse for the Countess, in fact a weredragoness of
great age with her two daughters living in close proximity. She revealed her true form, which is very closely reminiscent of a Bronze dragon, in the customized demiplane attached to a slender portal in her rose gardens. Agwain was led away by Gardle’s magical chains, which were traded to the Countess for some favor of her own givings, and it was obvious as she led the group through her private sanctum that weredragon’s share the Dragon love for magic items as much as they crave their treasures.

First, she showed Romsh her garden’s centerpiece; a Tree of wealth which has a Seed gem at the base worth over 13,000gp, a bright and near-perfect, large ruby.

She also has a number of yellow kohl pigments, which are being painted over a number of iron trade bars; she intends on supporting future Queen Starr of Tethyr through financial means in the moment, funding the vast supplies that the people of the nation need, beleaguered in its civil war.
Romsh tried two of her pickled Eggs of reason; she had over a dozen of them. His intellect grew from the second egg; but he tempted fate no more after that.
To Dakkun, in exchange for the sword known as Bane of Harpers, she gifted a buckle of AC +3, usuable only by thieves.
A Cage of carrying
the Black pearl (804)
the Scarab of life (1057), which Romsh later gave to Vicker Gondsman
the Phylactery of bravery, which the group decided should go to Dakkun. It is written in words calling for the blessing of Tempus.

All in all, the group made a friend in the Countess; though they were charged to keep her secrets and leave her mostly uninvolved with more mortal matters of the surrounding countrysides. However, they can call on her as a contact as Sage lore for both Magic items and as well for Dragonkind.

She also had some advice for Romsh:
“A priest of Talos and a number of following cultists have entered your swamp, Romsh. We think they are converting the Lizardfolk. The Harpers are glad that you have the strength to handle the trouble at your backdoor…”

Once back in Romhold, Romsh met with the flumph prior, Chottlefin, who pledged his service to Romsh and his people if a village can be made for the flumphs on the edge of the swamp, and some protection offered them, from further lizardfolk raids; they have lost six of their folk in the past month, for no other reason than to destroy. The peaceful Flumphs harm no one and have no alterior motives for anything that they do; the creatures are mostly left in peace to preach about the dangers of evil in the multiverse; a greater set of evils lurking at the fringe of the universe they have no truely specific knowledge over. The Flumphs are LG in nature; they peacefully hunt small rodents and creatures.

Along the way to travel to the Flumph village, the group encountered a number of Campestri (singing, salt-filtering fungi that are humorous and can cause drunken-like stupors and a natural, slow-spell like ability; they took particularly to the conjuror Essom, and ride with him atop his magic carpet, singing ‘Calimshani nights’ and the ‘March of prince Ali’.

The group settled with the Flumphs; staying with them for two days and nights, studying their mud-daub art and the secrets of the universe, time and thought, sharing philosophies and religion with the Flumph abbot; Romsh promised them a village just behind his own castle.

The encounter with Redeye, the shaman leader of the advanced lizard folk which have dominated the Lizard marshes, went something like this:
You enter the swamps, and as it grows thicker in vegetation and pockets of morass, mist rises and forms about you, obscuring your vision to perhaps six or seven feet. It seems natural, but of course, how could it have formed as such. Redeye then appears before the single file group leader, Romsh:
“I thank you for giving me time to prepare the Lizardman princes; as well, the education with Vicker the Krii; and the number of simple arms, armor, and trade goods you have provided. I thank you for introducing me to the wonders Gond has shared, but alas for you, I have shed worship of Semyuana, the World Serpent; Talos is now my god. Now perhaps you will be thankful that you built those stockades around your hamlets. I fear tonite, a Lizard King will be made. That is a terrible night for you; the Lizard Kings must devour a human or other such being once a week. A King will be made. You will even help me, tonite!

Your ranger I have witnessed, so too adventurers, and now this meddling priestess of Shar. Soon your subjects will be upon our dinner plates, Romsh. The Swamp swallows up all that are unfit for it; like Cromm, so will you be."

He pauses and regards you: “I have enjoyed our conversations, Grand Baron Romsh. However, I have one last thing to tell you…onions, even magical ones, are meant to smell bad. Goodbye, Romsh…I hope we will not meet again, for your sake.”

40 Lizardfolk attack, with clubs, spears, javelins, and shields; as well as 4 Lizardolk princes (as King in entry); and one of Redeye’s Gorgosauruses rushed forward. Marly was teleported away by Gardle, who took a major artery cut in the sawing teeth of the beast. Romsh, Chottlefin and Dakkun survived, backing up and quickly cutting back to the Romhold. Only after were they able to push forward with Essom in tow this time, and without much incidence aside from some troublesome dinosaurs, meet with the Flumps.

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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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The sword coast can be sharp...

The Phull cog carrying the shipwrights and equipment and raw materials which would be used to secure the cogs, as many as possible to limp back to Rivercrest in the Barony of Romsh, set out under guard by the two ships belonging to the Brotherhood. The journey for them began apart, and would end apart…though success inevitably resulted in Daisy Slim, Captain Vek’s longship with 60 salvaged Oars of rowing (rumoredly taken from a sunken Elven ship out of Evermeet’s defense fleet) to now lay on the shore of Baron’s Lancing, a village along the river, the same where the Baron was laid nearly dead by a lance strike. As well, two cogs fly the Baron’s standard, though they are in drydock at Waterdeep, in long-term storage and repair.

The Phull fishing fleet greatly enhanced, will be able to produce more…but Baron Romsh’s search for the Gondcannons has come to a end. Rumoredly the base of the High captain of Luskan he hunted was raided not a second tenday after the Baron and his party dissapeared by unknown means from Lathtarl’s Lantern; a ship rising from the sea, and a number of Gnomes overtaking the captain’s ship, turning the Gondcannons to slag and stealing away. The Lantannese underwater ship was a rumor for which to strike fear in the hearts of reavers, and now is confirmed to exist.

With much of the Brotherhood’s interests occupied now in Tethyr in support of Zaranda Starr, no one can say what happened to Gardle, Essom, Alexjo and Romsh except their strange dissapearance. Ievos occupied himself with freeing a number of Elven slaves, and returned with Darkskins to the Barony; where Duke Pwyll has rumoredly begun to secure Secomber and Julkoun as extension of his Duchy; and turning over much of the southern territories into the service of Baron Romsh. Baron Agwain, once embroiled in a conflict with the adventuring band, is heard to be visiting some of the villages, to rouse their elders and mayors to petition to his Barony instead; and doing so with armed guard. A single clash of steel left one of Agwain’s men with a broken leg from a Dwarvish hammer, but nothing more has come of it.

The bells of chaos ferreted captain Zek’s entourage as well as some members of the Brotherhood away. The captain and a number of minor wizards and warriors, the ensorcelled templar of Clangeddin Silverbeard, Marshter of clan Boulderclaws, who once was known to dwell in the far North; and the warrior Apoc Pendergast, who wielded a Serrated glaive, taken from the NIne hells, played hit and run and vicious bloodsport, usually losing but always snaking away, in the distant Sunset Mountains. For a month the Brotherhood dodged trap and creatures friendly and foul to hunt down the Captain, who’s teleport magic could not take more than himself. Seeking out the Temple of pain, a lair of a medusa who had fallen to worship of the god Set, Captain Vek hoped to escape into a portal which would put him a day outside of Waterdeep. He allied himself with Vallasta, the medusa, and her mate Chaolosh. The medusa and her grimlock minions were locked in a death struggle with a colony of grell.

The encounter with Vallasta proved her undoing as her greed invited her close to the group; close enough to reach for magic items which would be exchanged for her allowance of the Brotherhood to enter her lair and finally capture the elusive captain Vek. She did make some understanding to them of the further nature of the bells; and her own contact with the wizard Dyr, who had enspelled her with magic centuries before; though only until the past short year her power growing steadily. As she rose from the ground to collect the toll for passage, she witnessed herself in the sight of Romsh’s reflective, highly polished armor; and turned to stone.

In the small lair, Chaolosh was encountered again, but he parley’d and was allowed his life; as well, a Glyptar was captured in a leather pouch by Essom. Lastly encountering captain Vek and his two companions, the mellee was harsh and quick; first Alexjo being slain by the templar and then the Dwarf smashing Romsh’s hipbone and leg, the crumpled half-orc then bashed into the head; both dying while Essom and Gardle made last work of the Dwarf and deactivated the Sandglass of Fiery End, a item which is turned upside down and the words “Embers to Inferno” spoken, lending a terrible (10d6) fireball (half fire, half force) of double size to erupt, destroying the item and everything nearby in its wake. Captain Vek escaped, however…

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The tribulations of time

After the encounter with the ghost ship “Fortunate Son”, a troubling event took place during the planning of the Phull family seizure of a minimum of at least three cogs, which they will use for fishing. While the Green Hart will transport Alexjo’s Dunadorian men at arms, and Alexjo’s ship to guard the Phull’s Storm’s Ketch, the group will travel to Lathtarls Lantern to hunt down captain Vek of “Daisy Slim”, a drakkar, and the two Luskan longships alongside them.

While at Romhold, the Brotherhood met with a number of notables:
Duke Pwyll, who informed Romsh of his absorption of an adjoining Barony, and suggested ( a gentle command) that upon his return from his adventures, that he travel the road to visit his new subjects. A Dukedom was promised to him, if Duke Pwyll can be raised himself to a Lord of the Alliance. That would imply that Waterdeep recognize his holdings as vast enough to be worthy of note.
Uncle Talbano
a representative of the Starr Protective Services, for Zaranda Starr of Tethyr, Cassandra Arunsun, who asked of Gardle…“Will you send your men at arms, those of your own standard, to aid us? Or will you come yourself, when the time is right?” The men at arms were offered each four gold per month per person, and so took their leave of Gardle.
Eddard Phull of Romsh’s fishing village
Captains Gob Jim and Jonathan Frakes

Outside the back window of the main hall room, Romsh heard the beautiful Sharran priestess he had turned down twice before, call out instead in a gravelly, cold voice:

“Romsh!!! Romsh!!!! I have a message for you, but you aren’t going to like it.
This thrice time I give you a gift from Shar, who reigns supreme of night.

No Bear Cloak shall warm you (Cloak of the Bear that Gardle owns)
No Bands shall give you might (Ievos/Alexjo’s Bands of Might)
No Shrines shall liven you (Romsh’s connection to the Shrine of Nevron severed)

The Barony of Romsh was mine of olde
It shall be mine again
Allow my priestess to teach you
Why you shall fear the night

You have met my chimera
You have met my curses
Next you will meet my hounds, Gondson

Pray to Gond to bring Wonder
Pray to Selune to bring shine
These lands are not yours
They have always belong to mine

Through divination, Romsh has discovered that the priestess lvl 10 of Shar is Krishina of the Stormcrows. She seeks to subvert the barony to the worship of Shar, and is served…or serves Shar with…a large Shadow dragon. By their divination 5 temples should be erected around the place of olde, a ancient temple complex which has sunk into time and the murk of the Lizard Marsh. Somewhere deep within it, the ancient Ophidians, a sect of which kept Shar’s secrets, sleep the eons away…and await to rise from their slumber.

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Ranging far from the Brotherhood...

Ievos has plenty of time at the Scrivener’s Guild in Waterdeep for his own personal notes; compiled and sent often back to his superiors in Evermeet; hopefully for his mentor’s approval. He has heard nothing from him since his mentor left the island in search of the Craulnober Moonblade; but this is not unusual. Some members dissapear for a century; others abandon quests for a while for other pursuits, or some never return at all, for various reasons. Such is the Elven way.

The search for the lost Elven tome describing the wards and mythals of the Illefarn mythal, defended by the Dwarves and crafted by the Elves far before the rise and fall of the Kingdom of Man, was set upon by the Gold Elvish Lord Floshin. He set Ievos upon the task, which would take him to the nearby kingdom of Tramilar, a small hold a few hundred miles northeast of Illefarn. In the past decade a terrible plague swept through the area, reducing the populace by nearly a half.

For the trip to collect the book, which was known only to Floshin as somewhere in Tramilar proper, Ievos decided to invite Romsh. Romsh took along his trusty Dwarf companion Boffer Ironeater, and three set out. Their first encounter took them to a crumbling tower, and upon a plot not fully ever realized by them. However, they rescued the Princess Ariella, and slew a hill giant, half-orc fighter named Harak, a number of goblins, and a young wyvern in the process.

Continuing forward through the treacherous and dark, foreboding Dreadwoods, they evaded a goblin town and found shelter in the Dreadwood’s cottage of the elder and blind druid Kesryk. The goodly druid allowed them to stay for the evening, sharing stories and revelry. The next day, they encountered a number of large spiders, intent on making feast of the good (but cowardly) bard Rhodoban. The bard told them of some the dangers to anticipate ahead, as they strove to return the irritating Princess Ariella home to her father; and weaved a tale of their travels in the Dreadwoods to Tramilar, including the secrets of the Gloombarrow.

The group came to a wooden bridge, crude but spanning a river needing crossing to approach the plateau of the kingdom and find the Passage Road home. The self-proclaimed King of the Forest, a Ranger (5) named Marle, challenged Romsh to a test of skill with quarterstave, with the intention to drive the other into the water. The King lost, and thusly allowed them passage; but not before offering them lunch and rest. While there, Romsh offered Marle a place in his own Barony, to which the Ranger eventually acceded.

Marle’s story was one of sorrow; the differences between the rights of the commoner vs gentry. Princess Ariella’s brother accused him of leading him astray and nearly the loss of his life, guiding him into a thicket by himself with wild boar during a hunt. The matter was merely over the fact that the prince disputed that the ranger need help him; Marle’s story of saving the errant and foolish prince by slaying the dangerous boar himself did not please the selfish and vain, evil prince; who instead concocted that he slew the boar himself, and without help…nay, nearly death by the callous King’s Forester. Marle, instead of facing court which might have even ended in his death, exiled himself to the Dreadwood.

Narrowly avoiding a horde of goblins and hungry trolls, the group escaped into the Gloombarrow. A place for the Deathless Lord, Cormot, a mage of the 9th circle (9th level), the alchemist had crafted a necromantic potion which stalled death, while he tried to attain the power of a lich. Thankfully they avoided the Lord and some of his more powerful minions in the Gloombarrow, finding a secret passage out. Once they followed the tunnel to the surface of the plateau, the Court Wizard Numis and a few of the guards arrived on site, to take custody of the Princess. In gratitude, Numis gave Ievos the book that he had set out for, and invited the small party to Tramilar Castle for a feast in their honor.

On the road home, and to deliver the book to Lord Floshin, the three encountered two Dwarven adventures; Sons of the Allfather, or at least, part of their company, two twins. One Axel and one Dungrin Bedrock; the famed Bedrock Brothers. With some help Ievos managed to garner one spell and the promise of more from Axel, who uses Dwarf rune to write out his arcane spells; the first of his kind, a Dwarven wizard! A theurge, Axel combines the worship of the Dwarven god of adventure, Marthammor Duin, and his study of arcane magic while…at that time…his inborn talent of Spellfire revealing itself by sapping away all magic he tries to cast. Ievos offered a salve and showed the two Bedrock brothers how to find healing mushrooms nearby, and the promise of friendship. Boffer seemed particularly happy to meet the Thunder Blessed adventurers.

Notables:
the druid Kesryk (5)
Marle, King of the Forest (5)
Court Wizard, Numis (7)
Baskillion, Captain of the Guard
Moira, chambermaid
Prince Alfinor, evil heir to the throne
Mottle, dubious Dwarven court jester
sickly King Ormath the Just
Father Graelis, fat and cordial priest of Lathander (4)

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Evil tides...and cleansing winds.

With the four armed baron sahuain defeated, the group swam through the whale gut sheathe into the chambe of holdin of the Stone Which Abides, which they later learned is the trapped essence of Anguileusis. A large group of Thayans arrived; the assistant Autarch of Conjuring, and two of his powerful unerlings… surrounding the group and levelling blades, wands, and staff at them after they had parted the membrane with the Eel key and removed the rest of the threat. Why dirty their hands?
“You are not of the strength to keep this; long has this race plagued our shores and ships; and so too do they even plague your people, Alexjo; they punish Mulhurond and Unther with much fervor in the Inner Sea. We will occupy this cavern complex only for a single day, and depart through the ocean. A Thayan War Galley is nearby; it is armed with two bombards. We will level the town of Angelburg if you do not comply. Do not test our desire to secure this sleeping sahuagin prince by any means neccessary. This acquisition may bring their ire, but what more could it cost? And certainly allowing this ally of their god Sekolah to awaken will do as legend and omens promise…unless we secure it, far inland. You may collect all else from the caves you have encountered thus far, we will touch nothing more than to take the statue.”
The Thayans divined that this Stone Which Abides statue holds some malevolent threat; but of course, they are not aware of the true danger they have brought back with them.

Upon return to the surface and peace restored, the Bonded Swords have little to pause…for the captain of the Green Hart will seek out Alexjo and the rest of the group to inform them of what transpired. A large contingent of sahuagin raiders had arrived; and was soon be upon the Potentiate. Krillick and Gardle led their respective groups against them, and enlisted Alexjo’s caravel as well as the Green Hart to drive them back out to sea; sinking and repelling the manta that was sent against them. Casualties were light. By the same token, the Potentiate will seek out Baron Romsh:

“You cannot leave our island, not until we raise a proper feast for you. The sahuagin threat has been eliminated! So Laurish says. I shall offer my island’s liege to you, and withdraw our obeisance to the Lord’s Alliance if you shall lend your powers, and that of your Bonded Sword’s…or yours…men at arms, to our immediate defense.”
Though Romsh declined, since he is not yet ready to break free of Duke Pwyll’s service, Ievos arranged for a contract by which a ship, caravel or galleon, would be built and staffed by sailors of Angelbur; siege weaponry, marines, weapon specialists would be provided by the group. The ship would be armed thus at the cost of the Bonded Swords, and commanded by Potentiate Rynnow on all accounts except its use by the group.

Not only this, but the morning after the victory feast and the end of the threat to Angelburg Island, a recently arrived diplomat, arriving by magical means, approaches Alexjo with a offer; her name is Cassandra Arunsun, a attractive and young, blonde and blue eyed woman in the robes bearing a High Herald sigil, and carrying a symbol of the centaurs of the High Forest:
“To Alexjo Quickstring, and the Bonded Swords,
In a letter written from Queen Zaranda of Tethyr, her faithful servant, the centaur Tymouth Eyesbright. I know of you by word of your deeds at the small town of Leilon, whereupon you visited my cousin Edrik where the Unicorn glade is, and said the heceuva disese was taken from you, and Romsh the half-orc, by Lurue herself.
Zaranda Star is to be queen of Tethyr reunited, a land torn by petty warlords and nobles lacking nobility. She must reunite these, her, lands. She needs your company, and the work of the Wanderers in Blue, to Survale Ford, as her Star Protective Services have driven the half-ogre who would have made himself a king there of his monstrous ilk.
Your tribe would be employed in auxiliary positions only, for 300gp a month, and they will have access to 500gp a month worth of equipment availed of our expedition’s acquisition officers and stewards. Please speak to your Uncle Talbano on this; it is well known that on the move, gypsies are par excellence entertainers, healers, and caravanners, and certainly can ply their trade for more compensation. In addition, tack and food will be provided wholly to them and out of our pocket.
For the Red and Blue we will pay 1200 gp per month to you to offset their costs of tack, food, and wages; profit to be yours, and greatly as we well know. Your company is reputedly not much in business…
Your clan and forces will be joining the Reclamation Army. Others are arriving; in six tendays a grand armada will set out against the winter storms to take the rebellious by surprise, and reinforce Star Protective Services. Report to Waterdeep, the warehouse 51 on the dock ward, on Thayer street, if it is you intend to sail on with us, to take place in these historic-making times.”

Days later, Lord Rath Basilayer (pg 51) makes contact with the Alexjo, appearing before him on his caravel.
Dressed in fine raiment of a multicolored desert style coat, a falchion at his side, as well as a shortened single-handed bec-de-corbin, and jambiyaa. He wears improved chainmail with lamellar painted plates.
His beard is a thin sharp mustachio and sharp goatee, a long scar runs from his brow to cheek. His face is lean and hawk-like, shrewd brown gaze studying you. His hair is salt and peppered brown. The weapons, armor, and his earrings, amulet, and rings are all magical; so too are his gloves. He is LN, a trainer and recruiter of mercenaries.
He speaks in a Calimshanii accented common; his parentage is known to be Tethyrian and Calimshaani.
“King Yusuf of Jhammar, current ruler of the city of Myratma (pg45), offers you double of the take that the usurper, ignoble Zaranda Starr can. And unlike the common born Zaranda, who cannot affirm her claim, Yusuf’s blood is known to the High Keeper of Colors (Siamorphe’s priest) in Calimshan, from which Yusuf has royal caliphate blood tie as well as to the Tethyrian bloodline.
If you know of my family, we have 1200 men at arms, and are raising three times more that. Myratma shall be the light against the darkness of uncivil war.
I know of your trouble with the Luskan pirate (turning towards Romsh), and what you seek. You may join in the glory of the war with us after you finish your business with them; your blade is becoming well known on the Sword Coast as you carve out a piece of the world for yourself. I know, as well Alexjo, how you have turned away from the minstrel ways to preach the teachings of Anhur; surely you seek a war to prove yourself to your superiors in the church? Or at least, to offset the red tabulations of your company, both in the Sword Coast and in the kingdom of Dunador…I will let you think on it. Should you wish to join us, I will be in the area for this evening only.”
With all of these considerations, Alexjo decided that he would move in favor of Zaranda Starr.

There was a surprise visit by the Harpers (5 cloaked forms; one a obvious druid, another a priest of Eldath, and another priest of Lathander; the other two seem bards; each shows their Harper pin as proof):
“The jewels of Neverwinter do not belong to you. I know it is that you have taken them in loot, but they are neccessary now that they are found to allow us to place spies in Hellgate Keep. A force there has knowledge that they are now possessed; and will move soon against you. For their value, we will offer 3 potions of healing, as well as: Alchemy jug, and the Girdle of lions.”
Had the Bonded Swords not turned them over…then the Harpers will take them anyway, peaceably but neccessarily. However, they complied and were given the reward due. Gallia studied the slimmest form first, which she believed to be a source of the telepathic discourse that was overheard; a potent psioness named Patricia Watkins (dual classed bard 5/ psion 7 AL CG).

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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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The Destiny of Kings, part 3

A gyrocopter, a large cranking wheel propelled by the four Gnomes and two humans working upon it, pedalling with their feet, guides the strange device over the river and hovers slowly above the river as the boat is working its leisurely way down towards the castle:

“Ho there! Courier 4 of 4 of Gond’s Faithful Delivery Service; All hail the Krii! Celebrate Gond’s Wonderbringing Twenty-two days ago as the Courier Service begins! Well. I have this letter from the revered Krii Vicker Gondsman, priest of your temple in the Barony of Romsh; it is cosigned by the stamp of Steelhead, your Gondservant.” He takes out a windup speaking horn, and glances at him. “For everyone to hear, or just you?” A large disc seems to spin on it releasing noise as a slender digit and arm seem to gyrate over it. "Oh, and at the end of this, you may record a conversation as well…

Greetings Baron Romsh! I look forward to hearing your stories of how Gond has brought you into the fold of Wonder. We will talk greatly. I have seen to making sure the turretted ballista are at a full 360 degree arc so they may be aimed upwards; I have drawn up plans and will implement them on a balancing platform that can allow this three-dimensional pivot. Perhaps we can even easily turn them to double ballista! But, not to digress, as Steelhead is interjecting…

Baron. There is trouble on the horizon perhaps; Korin Ironeater has apparently claimed himself the King of Illefarn and demands recognition by the Lord’s Alliance and more importantly, Duke Pwyll,whose ancestral claim is about four hundred years old. Korin’s is over one thousand, but this is not a simple matter. In Daggerford, Derval Ironeater has stirred up problems on their Masked Council; he is calling for the Halflings and Gnomes to either come to the Kingdom of Illefarn or to at least join forces in a Gnome and Halfling guild, which is being put a stop too. His smithy is still in operation but of course it may close; most Ironeaters have left the town and are relocating to the clan proper. There seems to be a anti-demihuman sentiment being cultured there.

There was a argument between some farmers and a small Elf band on the edge of the Laughing hollow and a homestead belonging to the small community of Julkoun. It led to a fight; one Elf and three humans are dead. Patrols from Secomber were sent out to warn the Elves away; but the Dwarves came out and demanded that they respect the ancient kingdom’s boundary, whatever that may be and perhaps whatever Korin feels he can hold. A Dwarf, another two Elves, and four more humans died. King Korin intends to claim Julkoun and Secomber under his domain; he may well be successful. He is waiting for your return to come to counsel; and the same, Duke Pwyll has requested your steward to mobilize your mercenary company; he has stalled by offering up two of your four men at arms as the only thing within his power. Duke Pwyll will no doubt support the men of Julkoun and Secomber.

There is an increase in orc, hobgoblin, and even ogrish-seeming large creatures; they seem to be, rumor says, stirred up by some of the Reavers of Garagos you and the Bonded Swords did not kill. Perhaps now might be good to stretch your hand out towards the independent communities of Gillian’s Hill, Liam’s Hold, Bowshot, and the Way Inn to annex into the protective fold of the Barony of Romsh. Your planned village with the priests of Valkur and the Phull family is underway. And once you have returned, we can procure a knarr, the two arrow casters, and two barges. Phull family will operate, unless you wish to staff the knarr in particular with your own men. Perhaps with things on the horizon as they may well be; a Luskan longship would do as well, to post in the midriver.

Lastly: We need the orb of alignment to aid in day to day screening of the folk coming in and out of the Barony with all of the new progress coming to the lands."

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No matter what was to come, there would be success and reward for the brave Bonded Swords.
Admired and admonished for not only their solving of the nation’s crisis, they also rid it of the curse of the banshee’s wood, 300 years of fear and terror produced from that dark place.
After all the fanfare, Highest Councilor Hollend takes them to the side.
“Do you recall Matlocke, the cook? Apparently he was something more indeed. Some of my sources say that Matlocke was something of a thief’s Don. He intercepted the tongueless thief Menlow who now serves him. Strange how the cook managed all his newfound wealth, it seems mostly from the Duke of Andevar, but he has enough now to legitimize his claim as heir to his family’s lost fame and noble title. And he is now, by deed and some well played contacts, Chancellor of Andevar and Steward of Montinelle.

This he earned as a reward and its exchange for his service to me. He came to me at the Three Feathers Inne, and proposed to help out as he could; causing some harmless raids at the castle to draw the Duke’s attention away from you. And he had his forces bleed 57 of Edrin’s own men throughout the Duchy, at greater cost to the scoundrels, but no loss there.

Matlocke’s lot is in the Stonelands I gave them decree of safety there and autonomy, so long as it does not threaten the kingdom. And they subjected to branding as accused brigands for that open pardons. It was certainly stretching my authority as Lead Justice but in my rights; the end, I hope will justify the means, but only time will tell. They will be hung if found outside of the Stonelands.
Matlocke has 110 human brigands (Ftr 1), with 3 leaders (Ftr 3).
40 gnolls with 20 hyenas and 2 leaders…and the Stoneland based Ripper tribe, a group of militant and fairly well organized hobgoblins with 70 fighting adults, 3 leaders, and 1 chief. To safeguard against some future risks…‘accidents’ befell their two shamans very recently, during a fight with Edrin’s men.

You have more than earned the titles of lords of the court and knights of the kingdom, each and every one of you. But for three of you, some special consideration is being given. It shall be you that decides upon who will accept what.

The 2nd champion of the King ,Gardle Shinglestump ,we give Capel Tower, charged with the defense of our north-eastern border. 40 unblooded Tower Guard (Ftr 1s and 2s) and 20 mounted men at arms of your sigil (Ftr 2s). Steward Sigmund will castellan for you there.

For the 1st champion of the King, Alexjo Quickstring, we give Griffon Castle, with 40 unblooded Tower Guard (Ftr 1s and 2s), 40 mounted Border Guard (Ftr 4s), and 40 men at arms of your sigil (Ftr 3s). A Dwarven warrior by the name of Horsa will be retiring from a band of chartered Dunadorian adventurers to castellan there and steward in your name.

For the new Duke of Andevar,Krillick Morningstar, we give 40 men at arms of your sigil (Ftr 3s), and a mounted Citadel Guard of 10 masters (Ftr 6s). For Montinelle, there will be a standing group of 100 unblooded mounted Duchy Guard (Ftr 1s), 10 seargeant at arms (Ftr 4s), and 50 Castle Guard (Ftr 3s). Montinelle, the estates of Aimar, and much more wealth and power will be at your beck. However, this is as honorary a position as functionary; since Gardle has informed me of your curious Fate-bond and your need to adventure onward.

Matlocke will castellan Montinelle as is his duties as Chancellor of Andevar. The Dunadorian ranger Cameron Gaunt will have his group at Griffon Castle. His group includes a priestess of Selune, Astrid; Bromley; Owen, priest of Chauntea; and Kersana, a Elven sellspell. They will help with royal needs there; namely, to keep a eye on the traverse from the Stonelands and out to our enemies. Matlocke will put the brigands and his Stonelands filth to cut at the Merchant Dukes of Calaunt from safe base in our kingdom. You keep a helping eye on Matlocke’s intentions; so too will ranger Gaunt.

Lastly…I have a few questions, and some demands. Firstly, the prince noticed the dweomercraft of Baron Romsh’s sash of displacement; it is magic rare to the wizards of our court and it would be a fitting coronation gift to the good young King. (In return, he recieved a ring of protection +2; notably Romsh was not in favor of parting with his magic). As well, Krillick, your golden girdle of Urnst is mighty indeed. Our mages would like to study it; by legend the girdles of Urnst are rare and the enchantment lost to antiquity. With our gratitude also comes with a ring of protection +1 (to which Krillick refused).
Will you go to annex the other side of the portal, to open trade from the West to the East? Perhaps. Decisions to be made.
Ennoblement will come at 1200 gp. This will also help us to secure the portal for which you intend to travel here from Daggerford. (Aaron, Tyler, and Blake all paid up. Still need to decide their Dunadorian-based noble garb).
Is there anyone of the citizenry that deserve just reward for helping you in your travels? Lemus in Montinelle; Patrick the retired paladin of Tyr and his friend Edon, retired priest of Torm, in the hamlet outside of Lusian; and lastly the old woodsman Eli.
For you, Duke of Andevar Krillick Morningstar, Theron will manage Fontenmere Abbey, the temple to the god Lathander, and he will serve as your priest.
To finish, I can explain that for the two of you that drank of the waters of Nevron, you will always…well, drinkers without fail serve Dunador, sometimes to the bloody end; now our beautiful land is a part of you, and in your hearts forever. It is like a geas, but not; it cannot be removed without divine intervention; or only by the release of all your oaths to Dunador from the reigning King (or Queen)."

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The Destiny of Kings, part 2

The group has travelled from Montinelle to Fontenmere Abbey, and from the Abbey to as far as the Shrine of Nevron in the course of longer than a tenday, in a land that is plagued by shadow and doubt. The number of brigands on the road, as can be wagered, has increased; the blur of greying lines crossed by the good and the bad blending as merchants need to hire or bribe their way out of the land as they anticipate civil war and certainly the rule of Lord Edrin, the dark-souled brother of the king. Once he openly attempted to rebel against his brother and make claim for the kingship through force of arms; his supporting nobles and, as was rumored, support by the Iron Throne, crushed then.
Krillick pondered all of these musings as he rode the steady gallop of the sturdy, tall but thickly built Vastar stallion that Councilor Hollend had provided. They had scouted Fontenmere, the temple of Lathander that dominated this part of Dunador; they had cleaned out the Darkwood of the banshee threat, ending three hundred years of fear; multiple encounters with the very skilled Montinelle citadel guard and tower guard alike.
The paladin and priest that they had spoken to had darker tidings; rumor said that it was not Cyric or Gargauth that was worshipped by Lord Edrin, by the Lady of Shadows. Could she have struck a bargain with Talona of the poisons and pestilence, to conjure up knowledge of a poison so foul it could not be stopped or identified by the powerful royal priests of Dunthrane that had tended to the fallen King Halfred. Krillick might have been born and raised a barbarian and a child of the North but he had been tutored well; in particular, to know of the many campaigns of the churches. Tempus was not worshipped much in the Vast; neither was Tymora. Lathander, Torm, and Tyr dominated the hearts of the people of Dunedor; Chauntea had made some way with the simple farm folk; and Eldath of the peace. For those of darker ilk, it was said Cyric, Gargauth, and Shar held sway; the Boss of Earth had his own following but perhaps Gallia knew more of that than he did.
What had transpired in the past was past now, though.
The King had been poisoned, and hopefully, the shrine of Nevron would hold the secret or at least a clue of where the young prince might have gone to…or been taken, by.

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The Shrine of Nevron was known to create a geas-like effect upon those who chose to drink, or bathe, in the sacred waters. No one of neutral or ill intent could even approach it; fighters, priests, and paladins of the good were able to be empowered by the land of Dunador itself. In doing so, they became sons and daughters of Dunador. (In the realm of Dunador, they follow a LG alignment in regards to the king and nobles charging them. Specific roleplaying responses are varied depending on the characters inclement towards chaos or law, but the Kings word is ultimate; a representative will of the very land itself.)
Romsh, who found a love in his heart for these good and simple people, and their need for their King, approached heartily; and his strength became that greater than any half-orc or human ever might be.
For Krillick, who sought both wisdom and strength in the waters, he found more than he could bargain for, or expect. As he approached the waters, a massive glaive-like spear, nearly eight feet in length, barred his path; the spear-head nearly as large as his own shield! The spear head itself glowed hot; as if it was forged moments before, the edges cooling and black while the inside burned with the heat of the Nine Hells for which Tempus had taken it from. The fully armored and concealed frame came into view; a red cloak swaying about it’s shoulders as Tempus revealed himself in his true form; gold plated full plate armor rumored to be carrying the nicks and scratches marking every fallen warrior of the past, present, and even the future, or so it was said.
Next to the ten foot tall titan a large figure in red-painted full plate armor bore the figure of a woman, no doubt the Red Knight, a speaker for Tempus since it was told that Tempus’s voice could not be heard or percieved by mortals. She was nine feet tall herself, but between the two avatars, even the promising and mighty Krillick would kneel and lower his head to the ground, holding the palmful of water taken from the shrine of Nevron. If the others could see, they did not show it; seemingly frozen in time or unaware of the divine presence.
“Tempus”, the female voice would boom, “…demands you rely in your faith and what he has given to you through his servant, Uthgar. The strength of the tundra and the wisdom of the mountain winds. This land is not welcome to war; you may bring his teachings, but you will refuse the service of any power other than he.”
At that moment the glaive rose, and spun into the air, intercepting a few thrown coins, the edges sharpened and cut to turn the ancient gold coins into shurikens. The figure of Tymora strode forward through the water and towards Tempus, but the god of war raised his shield, batting the projectiles aside and hefting the spear to throw.
The Red Knights voice rang out. “Arrogant bitch, you cannot prevail in arms against he who is Tempus; violence and battle only make the king of battle stronger. But…”
“Silence, demigoddess. Speak not while I offer more than Tempus’s brutality. Was it not I, Krillick, who saw you through the battle with the Reavers, when Tempus turned his horse of defeat upon you? Was it not I that delivered you fortune in escaping the Red Brotherhood? Worship me, barbarian, and find success and good fortune in all your struggles and adventures…bring my church to these Dunadorians, show them as you deliver them from the clutches of Edrin, that Lady Luck wishes to smile upon them…”
At that moment, Tymora’s binding upon the demigoddess came to a end, and the Red Knight spoke on. “A soul can not be owned by two; it belongs only to you and the one you love most. But if it is between losing your faith, then lord of Battles promises to grant you still all the power you glean from him…and to challenge your faith even further. And pray, then, that Tymora gives you good luck; for the black stallion will ride always against you. You will know the lord of battles is the only true god for a barbarian.”
Tymora would speak as she watched Krillick’s features tighten in pride and arrogance. “I swear then to shadow you against the ill fate of Beshaba; take up my mantle of fortune and favor, and ride for me as well, Krillick.”
The half-elf would raise his face to look up at Tempus’s helmed face and stare upon his god, and then to drink from the water. “Fate is mine to make, and if I take strength from Tempus then I ask for the favor of Tymora to bring me victory in all. Hail the people of Dunador, hail lady Tymora, and hail you, lord Tempus.”

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The Destiny of Kings, part 1
...All the way across the world?!?

Krillick practiced some of his bettering barbarian skills in the fields and hills outside of Daggerford, and received formal weapons training from the Duke’s captain-at-arms. Boffer received his training from Romsh. And Gardle was busy in his own introspection, learning more of the Inner Power himself.

Since a few months have passed now, a number of retired adventurers, soldiers, and militia of the surrounding areas have begun to creep into Romholt, seeking out the free land that the castellan Henry has offered. It appears that Alexjo’s public relations work is doing well.

As circumstance would have it, the training characters did not have long to rest before more adventure has cropped up. Bando the Lame wanted to approach his good friend Baergon Bluesword and perhaps some of the Waterdeep guard to go and adventure, a propositioned idea which has fallen through, since Baergon died weeks before in a fight with Reavers of Garagos that had assumed that Baergon the half-elf was the same Krillick, half-elf, a truly promising member of the church of Tempus. Bando instead had to trust that Krillick and his company would serve his good friend, Council Hollend’s, immediate request for assistance from outside the kingdom of Dunador.

Bando came forward to Romholt, and laid out the problem as it was told to him:
“A terrible thing has happened. A small kingdom, Dunador, in the Inner Vast, has just lost its king. I know these folk; I travelled there, years before, to rally to the call of King Azoun of Cormyr, when he led the crusade against the Tuigan Horde. I tried to set up a mission there, to Tymora, but they are strong in the worship of Tyr, Torm, and Lathander; there are rumored cults of Cyric and Gargauth as well, but no matter.

It was not there that I lost my leg…but at that time, I was a priest of Yondalla. I served the thirty or so of my brothers and sisters who formed the Happy Band of Hairy Feet and Ready Stones, and we taught many of the bigger folk about the power of our slingstones. But not to digress…I lamed my leg by troll claw, when my adventuring band entered the High Moor in search of treasure and magic. It was only through Tymora I was lucky enough to escape…and so I serve her, now.

A friend of mine, Royal councilor Hollend, asked me to come. I cannot; my adventuring days are long over. But you can. See Rolfe, at the Three Feathers Inne, one near the portal you will make use of. Take the third stand of trees, outside Daggerford, towards the hills. Turn right at the third stand, and go a half-mile towards a rock that looks as a giant, at 17 feet tall. It is, in fact…a desert giant of Anauroch that lived in these parts a while back, who came here to petrify in peace. That is a story in and of its own. But there, at the giant, speak ‘Dunador-to-call’, and a gate will open to take you there."

The group travelled to Dunador; specifically, the province of it ruled by the shady Duke Aimar, known to be a wizard of some skill after he had well-established his fighting prowess. They travel to Montinelle, first…and learning what they had so far, of the lost prince that they seek to stop the evil Lord Edrin, the king’s brother, by ascending the throne…they have been immersed deep into this tale of intrigue and evils past, future, and present. The land of Dunador is magical; rumored to be blessed by Lathander now that it has turned its back of the gods and goddesses of old. But the land needs its king.
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In his training, during a waking dream as he practiced self-hypnotism, a illithid appeared kneeling and meditating in a dark cavern that must have been somewhere deep in the bowels of the Underdark. Its oily and slimy mind easily penetrated Gardle’s, and spoke to him.

“I am pleased to see you have achieved the 4th circle of awareness. Very good. Now as I told you, I will teach you the powers I have promised.
Firstly, I shall teach you Banishment…”
That done, within days that passed truly as only hours, the illithid continued as he said he would to the more pressing need and immediate education of a power Gardle greatly could use.
“I will teach you now convergence. This power is a small thing, since you travel with no trained minds. But that does not matter. You now have the power to teach them contact (for free), and with it, they may learn any psionic power that you possess (1000exp per, prerequisites still apply). And for the purpose of the power, you may contact and use them as converging minds…and they may make use of the pool of power points. However, since they are not psions, they can take nothing more than the shared defenses, which they may make use of in the group. This defense will allow your group time in the encounter against the Twelve, time to destroy some of them…hopefully all…before their minds overwhelm your own convergent ones. It would please me to see a better proportion of their number reduced before they overwhelm and ingest you. Because of the aboleth’s talent of learning all that is known by the being it consumes…I can say no more about my intentions towards you.”
Except that, I promise and swear by all of my race, that you shall be released from this fate bond in the unlikely event of your success, or the success of the other fate-bond groups working towards this event. When the time is right, all of you will be led into the Underdark to complete your objective. At that time, time will be a luxury not easily affordable."
“Thank you, Gardle. And I wish you pleasure in your exploration of your newfound powers.”
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Darkshins, a Duergar rogue, has joined the party. Ievos turned over the Eye of Traldor to Gallia, as well as the Buckle of lockpicks and Cape of shadow to Kerrick. Alexjo turned over the Gloves of thievery to Kerrick.

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