Swords for Adventure

The Waterdeep Conclave

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Tynarion paced back and forth across the floor of the antechamber leading into the great hall in the city of Waterdeep. He and his companions were awaiting the notice to enter and speak with the council. It had been a bit more than a week since their return from the flying ice castle. They had related the experiences and provided various journals and written correspondence of high ranking cult members, along with the ashes of Renzler. During the intervening time they had been treated well enough by members of the various groups. They had also busied themselves with efforts into their new manor house and grounds, but little other had been said to them other than they would be called to this council meeting.

Kori spoke and broke the silence as they all waited. “They dither and talk when they should be acting.” He offered to the room as the members of the Stone Guard that were present waited.

Tynarion stopped pacing and replied. “I would agree they seem somewhat lethargic in responding to the notion of a spy ring in their capitol and now word of a flying ice castle.”

Harndur looked up from the settee he was seated on by some windows and joined the conversation. “No doubt they are taking steps we may not be aware of.” Harndur offered.

“That is worrisome as the information seems somewhat one way in its direction.” Kori responded.

“I think they may still be vetting us as trustworthy or not.” Jin added to the talk.

Mordecai turned from the floor to ceiling window he had been looking out onto the city and he spoke as well. “I believe they have likely made a decision about precisely this point and likely that is the purpose of the this meeting. To move us to some next level of trust.”

Kori snorted. “Do you trust them?” He asked Mordecai who in turn answered. “My dear friend from the exotic far eastern realms, I am half devil and no one ever fully trusts me, as a consequence I never feel obliged to return the courtesy.” Mordecai answered, bowing. Kori snorted again and smiled. Mordecai then turned to his brother Tynarion. “Well brother, you look the right and proper elf nobleman, I’m sure you’ll do smashing.” He said wryly and bowing even more deeply in an overt sarcastic fashion.

Tynarion shook his head. “My ever supportive kin.” He answered in his best feigned snobbish tone.

The doors to the chamber opened and a steward exited. “My lords, the council bids you welcome and invites you to join this moot in regards to the growing menace.”

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Tynarion straightened his collar and surcoat and turned to his companions. “Shall we gentlemen?” and waved them all towards the chamber doors. The present members of the Stone Guard strode into the chamber.

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Road to Neverwinter

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Mordecai waved to Harndur from behind the thicket and he could see him in turn motion to Brigley. The three were in a tree line overlooking a clearing on the road to Neverwinter. They had come across the remains of a wagon that was destroyed and the passengers carted off by mountain trolls. Harndur had been fairly certain the passengers had survived judging by the small amount of human blood at the attack location. They had easily tracked the trolls to this location.

The oafs were around an enormous cauldron hacking up what had likely been the wagon’s oxen and throwing their remains into the cook pot. Hanging in cages were an adult male and female human, as well as, several children. The trolls were speaking amongst themselves. Mordecai and his companions with their signal sprang their trap. Mordecai and Brigley struck first, Mordecai unleashed a hail of icy shards that streaked towards one of the three trolls on his side, hitting him squarely several times and throwing him into the cook pot. From Brigley’s direction Mordecai heard a clap like thunder and saw a flash of lightning arc and strike the other two by the pot, sending them in the opposite direction. Finally from the tree line a large black bear sprang and charged into the three rolling on the ground, quickly sinking his fangs into one’s throat and tearing it wide open in a spray of fountaining gore.

Mordecai leapt from his spot and sprinted forward, he could see Brigley doing the same. While running Mordecai made a number of arcane gestures and greenish yellow bubble of fluid flew from his hands striking the trolls as they lie tangled with one another on the ground. He could see bolts of fire flying from Brigley’s hands as he charged forward, also slamming into the trolls. The three of them quickly dispatched the beasts and made certain their corpses were thoroughly charred. They also freed the victims from their cages. After brief introductions, they learned the family were essentially refugees fleeing from the far norther forests from what was likely advancing cult forces. They were trying to make for Neverwinter as they had heard it was taking in war victims.

Brigley offered to have them travel with the three companions as it would be far safer and they agreed. During the conversation Harndur had slipped away and they heard him call out from further up the hill, they all followed a rough trail up to a cave opening and Harndur stepped out. “Come have a look.” He said to Mordecai and Brigley. The trolls had established themselves in the area if they had a cave, and this close to Neverwinter was troubling. When they entered the cave it was a fetid cesspool of filth one typically encountered from the beasts. “Back this way.” Harndur motioned and they continued down to the bottom of the cave.

There was a good deal of coin lying about, along with a number of semi precious stones. Brigley took out an empty leather satchel and filled it, when he was done he hefted it and looked at Mordecai. “I’d say this will help some wayward refugees get on their feet.” he said smiling. “Agreed, and good fortune as well since I would be shocked if the lords of Neverwinter are indeed happily taking in refugees.” Mordecai replied. Brigley nodded in agreement frowning. The coastal city states were still publicly pushing a policy of denial in regards to the cult of the dragon, times were painting them more and more the liar.

“Down here.” Harndur said. The two turned and joined him. Leaning against the wall was an armoire, in quite good condition oddly. “What did you find in it?” Brigley asked Harndur. “That’s the real mystery, it won’t open.” He answered. The three tugged and pulled and could not get it to open. Harndur performed a ritual of knowledge and it became apparent, the whole piece of furniture was enchanted. Brigley spoke a few mystical words and touched his staff to the latch. There were a number of clicks and mechanical sound at the end of which the doors popped ajar. Quite defensively they opened the doors and peered in, Brigley spoke up “Now isn’t that pretty, not something you see everyday…..”

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A tale told by aged Dwarves to their Younger Kin

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Anvilfist Trollslayer had taken up with some human merchants traveling south toward the Sword Coast. A cold breeze came in from the west as they traveled south. Anvilfist was hired by the merchants as security. He was being paid as a body guard for a young merchant prince.

Anvilfist approached a clearing with a pale obelisk centered inside. The clearing seemed unaffected by the biting cold wind from the west. The hair on the back of Anvilfist’s neck stood up as he felt watchful eyes peering at him from behind the trees on the opposite side of the clearing. His thoughts turned for the moment to his home in the mountains. The smell of the forge, a well earned meal topped off with a cool brew and a good woman sitting in his lap.

Anvilfist returned to the moment. He thought “That is all a memory now, my path is set.” He grasped “Foe Cleaver” his slayer axe along with his trusted war axe. He felt the cold steel in his hands. He knew the metal would soon be warm with the blood of his enemies. He thought “that’s right bitches”, your blood on my axes. “GET SOME” he yelled as he charged across the open ground.
No sooner had Anvilfist yelled, an orc arrow creased his shoulder above his left bicep trailing a thin line of blood. Anvilfist thought in the moment….“here we go, time to feed the rage and cleave some skulls.” A group of Orc archers were just opposite Anvilfist behind the obelisk. Their volley had gone long.
Anvilfist moved with unnatural speed more akin to an elf, surprising the orcs and moving among their front ranks disregarding the archers. He sensed his human friends were some distance behind him and closing. Anvilfist swung Foe Cleaver in a close arc to his right slashing the throat of the nearest archer attempting to block his line to the Black Orc Shaman in the rear of the formation. His Waraxe cut up through another archers lower jaw and cleaved clean through his skull. Black Orc blood drenched Anvilfist’s axes as it ran down his fists.

The Shaman, Dargum the Voice, began casting a spell. Cold blue lightning crackled around Dargum. His voice rose and peaked as the lightning extended from his fingers striking Anvilfist solidly in the chest. Dargum laughed in anticipation of the stench the burning dwarf would make. He let out a load roar which was cut short by a low gurgling, as blood poured like a fount from his mouth over his lips. Dargum turned his head right over his shoulder to see Anvilfist grasping Foe Cleaver in his right hand and pulling the axe from between Dargum’s neck and shoulder blade. Dargum dropped hard to the ground bleeding black blood from a clean gash in his neck and back.

Anvilfist’s human friends made quick work of the orc archers, taking very few casualties. The remaining orcs fled to the trees. As the orcs disappeared into the woods, a low and rumbling horn blew from beyond where the orcs had run. A loud booming voice called out in orc…“You will pay, Akrurz the Hacker has come for you”!

A large Black Orc, whirling a large black axe, emerged from the treeline. He boomed “I am Akrurz the Hacker! I am here to end your existence.” At least Anvilfist thought that was what the Orc said….he couldn’t be certain, his orc was rusty. Anvifist peered over his shoulder to the rear and yelled to the humans…“Get the prince outa’ heya, I got this!”
Anvilfist and Akrurz squared off and the humans left with prince, heading towards Waterdeep. Anvilfist grasped his axes, Orc blood drenching the blades. Dargum tried to raise up on his arms and Anvilfist crushed the Shaman’s skull with his left foot. Anvilfist and Akrurz charged.

Two days later the merchant prince found Anvilfist in a tavern in Waterdeep. He exclaimed "How did you….I mean what the…Anvilfist interrupted, buy me a drink, sit down and listen to my story.

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Smee falls

Smee stared in disbelief. He knew he had Cesar Milaned the great drake perfectly yet the beast just brushed him aside without a care. He looked around, seeing Handur’s barely stable body lying against the tower’s exterior. The great wyrm stared balefully at him, and Smee charged wielding his club. He landed a couple solid blows looking for important nerve roots within the dragon’s muscles but to no avail. As the dragon turned to face Erza just emerging from around the corner of the hut, Venomfang flicked his tail towards the pirate. Smee felt something pop in his neck and his vision faded to black.
A moment later, seemingly, he was blinded by a bright light. He could sense the light, but it was not like he had known seeing in his life. After a moment, the light faded and he could see the entrance to a grand feasting hall in the distance. Busty topless wenches sated the guests with drugs, booze, and food and they sang and fought merrily. Smee tried to climb towards the vision, feeling a weight holding him back more than he could have hoped to resist. He turned and looked into the abyss below, past his friends who had been killed, into the Nether.
“Come to me, join the rest of your crew’s souls in the everdark,” rumbled a great, booming voice, and for the first time in his life Smee felt the cold grip of terror in his soul as he was plunged into the void.

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Voyage to Faerun

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Mordecai poured over the mystic tome while sitting in the forecastle of the Crimson Snake. The group and their vessel had encountered some oceanic doldrums and weren’t making much progress back towards the Sword Coast. They had weighed anchor off a small island they’d encountered on their way to the Isle of Dread and Smee had sent crew ashore to fetch provisions in the event the doldrums dragged on.

It was evening now and Mordecai poured over the text of the libram they had found in the temple by the light of a small hurricane lamp. He looked skywards to the rising moon, it was a crescent and the night was somewhat dark. The air was nearly completely still and the silence on the water was profound. A few of the crew were milling about the deck attending to chores. Smee was ashore with the provisioning party along with Harndur and Thamar. Erza and Algares were on the wheel deck playing some dice game on a barrel.

Mordecai closed the book he had been reading and took another from his pack. It was a black tome he had received many months ago in the court of Tal Afaya for payment from the Emir. He opened it and the pages were blank. It was one of few made by Mordenkainen himself and it served as a repository for arcane casters to archive their knowledge within. Mordecai had always taken the more intuitive approach to magic that his lineage had given him, but these past few months with the group had shown him that path may have been too narrow. They had a growing need for more options and utility in some of their trials and Mordecai knew this was a way to expand that for himself and by extension the rest of the party.

Mordecai then made his decision. He took an ornate looking bottle from his satchel along with a quill and the ivory scroll tube from the temple. He removed one of the arcane parchments from the tube and began to murmur an arcane chant under his breath. He simultaneously started to copy the symbology from the scroll to the book.

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Expedition Days 3-5 Isle of Dread
The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan
1st of Kythorn (June, The Year of the Star Walker’s (1490 DR.) DR (Dale Reckoning)

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Allosaurus vittles
30th Mirtul (May) , The Year of Star Wanderers (1490 DR) DR (Dale Reckoning)

“What a great day!” Smee exclaimed with a belch, “Allosaurus is delicious!” The fire crackled, used more for the light than the warmth. The island was a muggy, heavy aired place that left the feeling of thick film on one’s body. Mordecai glowered at Smee as he ate before saying “Smee, was that course of action really necessary? We had just been embattled; I think you were callous with our lives this afternoon.”

Smee snickered and placed the hunk of meat on his belly to free a finger to point at Mordecai, “Maybe you horned devil, my apologies for bein’ a man of action. I watch you, Mordecai, all the time and I think ye are too cautious. Someone ‘ere needs to balance out that timidity.”

“Irrespective, I disapprove. There is knowledge to be gained here and the promise of treasure. For one, I would like to be alive to enjoy those spoils.”

“I thought it was hilarious!” Handur interrupted, “you can’t stop the inevitable. He would have done it anyway.”

“Thank you druid, at least one of you lot agrees.”

“I never agreed! I just wanted to see them up close. Means to an end,” Handur stated with a shrug.

“Surely I would have left you here to rot had things gone belly up,” Algares spoke up, “but I believe those beasts would have found us eventually. It is their jungle after all, and we have no idea how intelligent these beasts are. They may have laid in wait.”

“And now we’ll never know because SOMEONE isn’t capable of recognizing how invaluable the study of these creatures’ habits would have been!” Mordecai cried out in exacerbation.

With no small amount of fluidity Smee sprung to his feet. “Are ye callin’ me soft headed!?”

“I would not say that exactly, but I do think you are an ignorant son of a bitch,” Mordecai stated, also standing.

“Well, at least I don’ live my life as anything but what I intend to be! I’m a real adventurer; it’s not adventure if it’s not dangerous! You’d learn more about them if you see ‘em in battle!” Smee cried.

“Well at least I don’t live my life wearing a fruity silk shirt and trousers, you drug-addled lard-filled chubby-chasing whore-monger!”

At that Smee bellowed and began to charge towards Mordecai, “I can always leave you here to your studies, you horn headed buffo!…..” and with a flurry of his hand Mordecai encased Smee in ice.

Thamar guffawed. “That’s one way to keep him in line Mordecai! Perhaps without his incessant snoring we’ll all be able to sleep tonight!”

“Aye, we shall. He is a good and courageous companion for the most part. Like a retarded dog. It’s just too much fun to mess with him.”

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Sanctuary in the encampment of the Rakasta
29th Mirtul (May) , The Year of Star Wanderers (1490 DR) DR (Dale Reckoning)

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Mordecai adjusted the flame on the oil lamp. It was on a desk in a tent he and his companions were sleeping in for the evening, provided by the Rakasta merchant caravan they had encountered in the hinterlands of the Isle of Dread during their expedition. He was up late going through a tome of the history of the Lorderian Empire, an ancient sea faring empire that had populated dozens of isles in the seas west of Faerun for millenia before inextricably disappearing over 1000 years ago. Some speculated they had fallen victim to the Necro War in some fashion. He had recovered a pair of very old copper coins from a trio of ogre they had slain several days prior and this was his first chance to really examine them well.

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Here in the Rakasta encampment they were quite secure, the perimeter patrolled by enormous horse sized predatory working felines the Rakasta kept. The tent itself they were in was a lengthy, very tall expedition style shelter, with side poles and a number of center support poles. It was made from a very fine, but surprisingly robust kind of silk. The merchant’s had impeccable hospitality and had offered the group the use of it for 10 days if they liked. Mordecai had been examining the coins and reading for several hours. The rest of the group had taken rest, even Harndur was deep in elven meditation. Mordecai had wanted to take some time to thoroughly examine the coins, as well as, spend some time organizing field notes he had made of the trek across the island so far. He would take a few horus rest before they set out the next day. They wanted to press on to the ruins in the central plateau of the island.

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He could hear the rest of the team sleeping, snores, and breathing amongst them. It had been a strenuous march so far, through quite thick jungle bush, and in less than ideal temperatures. The battle with the trio of ogres was not too difficult for them, but sadly it had ended the lives of their coastal guides horrifically. The ogres seemed to be a sub species set of what one might typically encounter in the wilds of Faerun. Mordecai had noticed in his travels that ogres tended to acclimate readily to the environment and culture of other indigenous humanoids readily, whereas orcs tended to be quite singular and homogenous in their culture and society, with nothing other than minor dialect differences in their native tongue, as well as, clan affiliation, to differentiate them.

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The coins were of interest though, as other than references in texts, and some token artifacts, among a few ship wrecks and minor settlements, no Lorderian cities, or even large towns, had ever been excavated. If these ruins proved to be related, the find would be quite singular. It was also be of great interest to a number of scholarly orders. The more practical benefits would be if any of the Lorderians sea faring lore and artifices could be found. They were masters of star charting and navigation, as well as, shipwrights second to none. Their designs, if the texts and historical accounts are to be believed, were vessels that have not since been matched. They also used to great a effect an alchemical compound in their naval warfare known as Dragon’s Fire, whose recipe is lost to the ages. The possible discoveries if the ruins were linked could be significant.

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Expedition Days 1-2 Isle of Dread
Arrival at the Great Isle of Dread
29th Mirtul (May) , The Year of Star Wanderers (1490 DR) DR (Dale Reckoning)

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Machinations of the Sky Citadel

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Mordecai, Illya, and Marquis landed quite unceremoniously in a dark room after having leapt into the teleportation circle in the sky citadel they had just fled. When Mordecai got to his feet he gestured with his hand and bead of bright white light illuminated in his palm. Looking about the room, it was clearly quite old and hadn’t seen any visitors in ages. The walls were very skillfully tiled in various mosaics depicting some battles of old although some patches had clearly fallen free over the ages. It was a typical sized atrium one sees associated with teleportation circles. When he turned and looked at the circle and examined it, it still seemed to be in working order although dusty and unused for possibly centuries. What looked to be the exit of the room was blocked by some type of cave in. It would be impossible to tell where they were.

Illya spoke first. “I think I am going to wretch.” and she promptly bend over and did so. Marquis was on his back with his eyes closed just breathing and he spoke. “Don’t try and move much, just lie still with your eyes shut, it helps.” Leaping into a teleportation circle with the final destination rune spinning and random was bound to have ill effects on the uninitiated. It was also supremely to attempt at all, and in particular with multiple people, no guarantee of going to the same location, of having all limbs attached, of not swapping limbs upon materialization, etc. All in all their escape was quite remarkable in that regard.

Marquis opened his eyes and looked up at Mordecai. “That was very harrowing, wasn’t it?”, “Oh goodness no, these artifacts were constructed by the most skilled and intelligent arcane artisans of old, we were quite safe.” Mordecai lied. “Thankfully although we are clearly sealed in this room, and quite unoccupied, the device still appears to be functional. I should be able to enter some location runes and get us on our way.” He went on to explain while looked at the circles command orb on its pedestal. “We can go back to Tal Afaya and free uncle.” Illya exclaimed. Mordecai smiled sympathetically and tried to not be too condescending. “A noble goal indeed young lady but you have not all explained to me what precisely has happened in Tal Afaya, and we lack shall we say, reinforcements for re-taking a throne.”

Illya’s expression sank. “You are right mage, the three of us are not going to be sufficient. As to what happened, we do not know their true identities but some travelers from afar came to my uncle with word of the sky citadels teleportation circle. They offered to share in its wealth. My uncle agreed, but when the portal was opened the first group did not return. This happened several times and then we two began to see changes in uncle. One night late our fears were realized. I had crept down to uncle’s private study to watch him. He was standing with some scrying stone in his hand speaking to someone. It was then before my eyes he changed into a strange dark humanoid. I did not hear the rest of the conversation because I was caught by some mystical beast he had lurking in the study and he captured me, and then poor Marquis was taken in his sleep.” Illya explained.

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Mordecai listened and was confused by what he had heard the guards saying when he freed Illya and Marquis. “Why did your captor guards speak about trading you? If the group already holds the throne in Tal Afaya I don’t understand.” He asked. Illya went on. “These devils are deceitful and honorless to one another as well. After we were taken to the citadel there was some kind of fight, or mutiny I suppose. It was obvious the fiends on the citadel were bargaining with those still in Tal Afaya.” Mordecai considered her words. “Interesting, that is something we can exploit.” He said. “Where is your uncle and why did they keep you alive?” Mordecai asked as well. “I believe he is held by the beasts in Tal Afaya, and as to why they all want us alive, that lies beneath Tal Afaya. After the end of the Necro War, the nations of free peoples that formed the alliance his away the relics from the nether world in a vault that was constructed under Tal Afaya. The only key was an ancient sword forged and used in the war in those days, and it requires a ritual that only the bloodline of the rulers of Tal Afaya can perform. It requires more than one, and as result, they did not slay us, and were bargaining with each other over all of us.” Illya explained.

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Mordecai considered her words then spoke. “On your feet, both of you, we’re off.” Mordecai commanded taking out a journal from his satchel and leafing through it. “Where do we go now?” Marquis asked hesitantly looking at the portal and holding his stomach. “This trip will be intentional and a great deal less disorienting. We go to someone that can help.” He explained. “This person has an army?” Illya asked sarcastically. Mordecai looked at her and smiled. “He does, more than one after a fashion, and he would find a sky citadel filled with trolls, orcs, and doppelgangers to be a jewel worth taking.”

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