Lost Mine of Phandelver

Cult Retaliation on Red Larch
A little good with a little bad.

Hammer 14, Year of Three Sailing Ships, 1492 DR

The Called, sans Gundren Rockseeker, but being joined by The Hag of Yn-Soth, regrouped in Red Larch. Discord had not made it back yet, and Redknife Savra Belabranta made it known that she had joined the Griffon Knights of Waterdeep. Early in the morning some cultists from the Cult of the Black Earth released a Devastation Orb in the refugee camp southeast of town. The Called fought the cultists, however the devastation was great. Nearly one hundred refugees and townsfolk died in the magical earth quake, and twice that many were injured. The area that held the camp is shattered and broken, with five, one hundred foot-deep crevices, jutting stone, and uprooted trees now covering the area. Those that did survive were displaced, yet again, as the ruinous landscape is no longer hospitable.

Having defeated the cultists, and capturing the devastation orb, the Called decided to take the powerful item to Wave Echo Cave for further study and safe keeping.

Hammer 15, Year of Three Sailing Ships, 1492 DR

The Called traveled to by air throughout the day, deciding to rest at Hillcrest Manor that that evening, before going on to Wave Echo. While there, Brother Seeker Rosch Uskevren was able to catch up on his affairs, as well as discover that Nilsa Drendar is recovering. It also became evident that Mirna Drendar may have feelings for Rosch that extend past gratitude. The Hag of Yn-Soth took particular interest in the former Redbrand hideout in the ground below, as well as the abrasive servant, Droop.

Hammer 16, Year of Three Sailing Ships, 1492 DR

The Called traveled to Wave Echo Cave to deliver the devastation orb. The enclave of dwarven smiths, gnomish mages, and human mages, agreed to study the device and see if it could be repurposed to stopping the cult.

While there, Nundro Rockseeker asked about the whereabouts of Gundren, as well let the Called know that Gundren had been sent on a mission to a place called The Vale of Dancing Waters by the Rockseeker Clan matriach. Nundro seemed a little concerned that Gundren had not been heard from. The Called agreed to investigate as soon as they were back in the Dessarin Valley.

Hammer 17, Year of Three Sailing Ships, 1492
The Called returned to Red Larch with the intent of finding out about Gundren, as well as seeing if Discord had made it back.

All characters gains +2 renown with The People of Dessarin Valley.

Any character affiliated with The Harpers, Lord’s Alliance, Emerald Enclave, Order of the Gauntlet, or Zhentarim gain +1 renown in their respective factions.

A Voracious Master
Savra feeds Blackrazor

Hammer 12, Year of Three Sailing Ships, 1492 DR

Redknife Savra Belabranta wanted no part of the icy Hammer air that grew ever colder as the sun began to set. The chill breeze whipped at her as she circled above her travel companions atop Winddancer. They were a day away from Red Larch, a prospect that should have pleased the adventuring noble, yet the gnawing hunger of Blackrazor had taken its toll upon her over the last few days.

Savra noticed her features were a little gaunt in the frosty reflection of her breast plate this morning as she adorned her plate mail. The blade’s never ending soul-thirst manifested within her as a lasting and pained hunger unlike anything she had ever known. Savra knew that Blackrazor was beginning to trouble her in other ways as well. Last night she had snapped at Quetson the Clanless after one of his usual crude jibes. She had taken to the air early this morning in order to avoid her old friend, not wanting to explain herself.

Circling again, Savra saw the dull orange flicker of her companions camp flame. She knew Discord would be beginning the ritual to summon the magical shelter, and there would be the usual discourse over warm food that Savra had come to value with her adventuring friends. The thought of food made caused her to succumb to the dark longing of the blade again.

“Lady Bellabronta,” The black sword spoke into her thoughts. The blade’s voice was imperious, succinct, and dripping with contempt. It unnerved Savra how much it reminded her of her father. “Three days have almost come to a close, and you have offered me nothing. You must let me feed. I do not wish to force my will upon you, I fear it may end poorly for your friends below.”

The threat was not lost on Savra. Although she had yet to do battle with the blade’s tireless will, she was not yet sure how best to counter it. She knew the blade cared nothing for notions of loyalty and friendship, and should her will falter while in camp, she had no doubt the blade would try to force her to slay one of her companions. These last few days had been taxing for Savra, and she had grown weary from the ever present hunger, and exhausted from the constant battle testing of her will by Blackrazor.

Suddenly, out of the corner of her eye, Savra caught sight of another dull orange flicker. She steered Winddancer northward a little seeking to gain a better vantage. The sputtering and smokey campfire was disguised within the cleft of some low rocky hill, and would be impossible to spot if she were not airborne. Even with the light of day dimming, Savra could see see hulking shapes in uncured furs gathered around the sputtering cook-fire. Refuse and scattered bones littered the camp site, and the smell rotting meat and buzzing of flies could be detected even at her present height.

“Orcs, Lady Bellabronta,” Blackrazor purred. “Clearly they are a scouting party. No doubt out looking for caravans for the murdering band to attack along the road. They will position themselves here, and wait for some vulnerable traveler, then gather the rest of their filthy ilk to take the caravan unawares. We must stop them before innocents are harmed.”

“Do not think me a fool, Blackrazor,” Savra snapped internally. “I know exactly what your interest in those creatures is. You care not for innocents, only for your damnable thirst. Those orcs could well be making their way back to the mountains claimed by the Iceshield tribe. They have done nothing to warrant suspicion that they are going to attack a caravan.”

“Let me be clear, Lady Bellabronta,” Blackrazor projected coolly. “I will drink tonight. Either you determine the souls I consume, which can be a those of known marauders, rampagers, and murderers, or I will. That impertinent dwarf, Quetson tries my patience.”

The sword was quiet within Savra’s mind for a time, letting the threat linger.

Savra pulled on Winddancers’ reigns, hovering between the two fires in the heavy winter dusk light. Reaching back over her shoulder, she pulled the Blackrazor from its sheath. She could feel the blade throb in her hands with anticipation. The glistening starry blade, shown against the sky like a jagged rent in the gray clouds.

Sighing heavily, Savra took the hilt in both hands, letting the reigns drop. She squeezed the hippogriff with her knees, giving the hippogriff a command to dive on the oarfish camp below.

Winddancer emitted a shrill, raptor-like screech before falling out of the sky, claws bared. As the wind rushed past her, and her her whipped beneath her hood, all Savra could hear was the triumphant laughter of Blackrazor at the prospect of the bloodshed to come.

Escape from White Plume Mountain
Wherein Otto discovers the "anti-inspiration" rule...

Hammer 9, Year of Three Sailing Ships

Having left a trail of monsters in their wake, the Called, Quetson the Clanless, and The Hag of Yn-Soth decided that they would do Dessarin Valley no good if they died within the dungeon of the mad Keraptis. Discord had retrieved Blackrazor, and the ever soul-thirsty blade was now being wielded by Redknife Savra Belabranta, the Called decided to make a break for the exit, leaving the perils of White Plume Mountain, and the other legendary weapons for another time. This decision enraged Blackrazor, though the blade was appeased by the souls it was able to drink in the escape, at least for a time.

The Called returned to White Plume Village, where Nitasys awaited them. They rode hard for Neverwinter and utilized The Harpers teleport circle to travel directly to Waterdeep, as Nitasys was able to get fellow passage from her fellow Harpers.. While traversing from Waterdeep to Red Larch Savra began to grow moody, specifically towards Quetson, as their usual banter was always a little crass and combative already. After a time Saver left to go scouting. When she returned she seemed to be in a better disposition.

Hammer 13, Year of Three Sailing Ships

The Called and The Hag returned to Red Larch. The refugee camp surrounding the town had gswollen in the time they had been gone, and smelled of sweat, sickness, and unwashed bodies. The heat was still sweltering, despite it being winter. The entire town had taken on an over all haggard look. The citizens were growing weary of the clutter and squalor that was inherent within any gathering of displaced people that now surrounded their city. Wagons were making constant trips to the river to supply enough water for the town and the refugees, and the town militia looked suspiciously on anyone they didn’t know. What is more, accounts of monstrous raids were common place now, and more then one refugee bore savage wounds from encounters with beasts that they had barely escaped. There were rumors of strange robed figures entering villages, and when they left, the villages were left in ruins.

Quetson is continuing to ride to Phandalin in order to finish guarding the construction of Hillcrest Manor’s trading post.

Gundren Rockseeker has not been seen, or heard from, in the nine days since he and the Called had left.

5 days of downtime.
10,000 gold for the reward on Sir Bluto, which is paid in Waterdeep.

4 days of travel.

Far Away Dangers

Hammer 9, Year of Three Sailing Ships, 1492 DR

Drysmorlin of House Duskryn was not bothered by the wintery Hammer winds that tried to tear his cloak off his slender shoulders. The cold didn’t bother the drow, as parts some caverns within the Underdark were as cold as any weather topside. What is more, Drysmorlin was thankful for the thick gray-black clouds that dulled the sky at the base of the Graypeaks, blocking out the vicious sun. As the emissary crunched delicately over the snowy hills, he was delighted that this part of his mission, at least, had been relatively painless.

Cresting the last of the hills that lay before the Graypeaks, Drysmorlin was taken aback by the army that sprawled before him in their “camp”. The entire spectacle was disjointed, with the forces of the Hobgoblin Chief Gantes dispersed around their regimented fires. On the eastern flank of the camp, Bugbears adorned in uncured furs and bone trophies lazed about in a disheveled heap, trash and debris cluttering the areas where they now napped. To the west Drysmorlin could just make the ranging forms of huge, cruel-fanged wolves, with goblins sitting atop their back. In all, Gantes had gathered an army of nearly fifty thousand for his winter campaign, and the Sword Coast had no idea the army was about to descend upon them.

Sometime later Drysmorlin sat in the command tent of Gantes. The wool walls of the tent were weather-stained, with only the cold keeping the splotches of mildew from spreading. Thick pillaged carpets, caked in grime, and stinking of rotting fabric, adorned the floors, and when Drysmorlin sat upon them, a cloud of lice erupted around him. After a time Gantes made his entrance.

Drysmorlin saw that Gantes was thick, even for a hobgoblin. His ugly orange-furred face was a ruin behind a scar that ran from his chin to wear his left ear must have once been. He wore a long lamellar coat of black leather, and yeti furred boots caked in mud. A huge stark white pelt of a winter wolf draped from his broad shoulders. A thick-bladed cleaver and shield hung over his back, clacking loudly with each of his heavy steps.

Gantes took no notice of the drow. Instead, the chief marched past the waiting emissary and sat down loudly atop a hardwood stool that was likely looted from dwarves. Gantes splayed his thick knees out in front of him and hunched over heavily, resting his thick chin in an even thicker scarred hand.

“Hail Chief-” Drysmorlin began with a supplicating dip of his slender chin.

“Drow wait,” Gantes commanded in broken common. His heavy voice seemed to reverberate the tent walls. “Others come. Then we hear words of liars.”

Drysmorlin capitulated with another nod. Showing no sign of offense at the chieftain’s barb.

Drysmorlin and Gantes sat in silence for a time, all the while the chief held the drow in his stare. Drysmordin was happy to hear the tent flap open behind him, and he could feel the chill wind and specks of snow as they was blown in.

First a bugbear clopped past the drow. The beast reeked of moldering fur and the spoiling remains of the hunks of meat and and entrails that matted his fur. The bugbear wore none of the heavy winter clothing that would be expected. Instead he wore iron shod boots and a thick leather belt that held up a moldering loan cloth. Heads, mostly elven and dwarves, hung from a broad studded-leather belt, all in various states of decay. As the bugbear passed Drysmorlin almost gagged from the stench. A thick garrote of spiked steel was looped around his belt, stained with dried blood and thick with rust. The creature nodded lazily to the chief before sitting down with a great thud, cross legged on the Gantes left. Redistributing his sizable girth, the bugbear paid no mind to the drow. Instead he began scratching at what little his loin cloth covered, before eating the lice that he had produced from his nethers.

“Him ”/characters/klarg" class=“wiki-content-link”>Klarg," Gantes barked. “She coming is Marrowsipper.”

No sooner had he said her name then a huge wolf padded into the tent. Not a wolf, Drysmorlin realized from the goblinoid features mixed with the lupine face, a barghest. The creature padded into the tent and stopped breifly to snuff at the drow. Without breaking stride she assumed her goblin form and sat on Gantes’s right. She wore a coat like Gantes, and thick boots, as well as a strange fur-trimmed conical helm that ended in a vicious spike.

“We all here,” Gantes said. "Cupbearer! As is custom, bring the drink so we may begin.

A bedraggled looking goblin ran into the room with a bladder full to bursting. He quickly placed four rough wooden cups in front of the those in attendance and began sluicing out a clumpy, curdled, drink that smelled strongly of spoiled milk. Drysmorlin waited for the others to toss back their cups. The liquid was thick and chunky, and the drow had to choke it down.

Klarg watched the slender face of the emissary and whooped a resonant chuckle. “Him no like fermented wolf’s milk.”

Choking down the last of the chunky liquid, Drysmorlin began anew. “Hail Chieftan Gantes, I offer good fortune from House Duskryn. I appreciate being granted this audience, and wish to congratulate you on this most impressive army.”

Gantes sat quietly for a moment and Drysmorlin was unsure whether to continue. Finally the chieftain spoke, and Drsymolin could swear his bones rattled.

“Drow slavers of the people. Drow killers. Drow tricksters. Drow no want anything that doesn’t benefit drow. House no matter. You want something. I decide if I want it. Or if I have Klarg choke the life out of you and add your head to his belt.”

Klarg perked up a little at the threat of his chieftain.

“Very well,” Drysmordin continued, letting all semblance of niceties vanish. “We do want something, and we have something to give. I see your maps, and plans,” the Drow said nodding towards some scrawled upon hides that roughly resembled the Sword Coast. You march upon Secomber next. It should fall quickly with your assembled might. However to do so, you must travel the corridor between the High Forrest and the Southwood. A force of this size will not easily go undetected by the woodland denizens within. Our house will cause distractions from the Highmoor, and the Evermoors, respectively. We orchestrate monsters launching raids into the forrest, pulling the attention away from the corridor for a time, allowing you to pass unmolested to Secomber. There is unrest within the Dessarin Valley that should allow you pass further west without much resilience, and from there you are nearly to the coast, and your goal."

“What is House’s ask?” Gantes asked after a time, his expression betraying none of his thoughts.

“In return,” Drysmorlin continued, his voice bereft of anything other than smug satisfaction, “We ask that you pass through the Dessarin Valley quickly. My master has interests there that are being pursued. There is no interest in having your creatures potentially destroy the plans. In addition, my master wishes you to route your course through a town known as ”/wikis/phandalin" class=“wiki-page-link”> Phandalin, and obliterate it and its people."

At the mention of Phandlain, Klarg’s mangled ears twitched. “I know this Phandalin, from my days with the Cragmaw. I had people to kill there, but they went and got themselves dead before I could. If you want Chieftain,” Klarg said turning to Gantes, “I can show the way.”

Gantes sat quietly, all the while with his gaze resting heavily on the drow. “Is that all?” He finally spoke.

“It is,” Drysmorlin responded. “But I offer you a warning as well. Do not break this pact, and once through, do not return to Dessarin Valley. My master cares not for the conquest of you and your rabble, save that if you return to the valley the skies will spit lightening, the rivers will rise and dash your soldiers, fire will rage where it was not, and the very earth will open to swallow you. Your horde is mighty Gantes, but my master’s power is mightier.”

Gantes dipped his chin in acknowledgement then said, “I will give your master my answer.”

Drysmordin smelled Klarg’s approach too late. He couldn’t comprehend how the slovenly creature had been able to maneuver behind him undetected so quickly, yet there it was. The drow felt the spiked wire of the bugbear’s garrote bite deeply into his flesh. Almost by instinct the drow shot his hands up to create space between his throat and the wire, but was forced to watch horrified as Klarg gave a quick tug, and the black skinned digits fell to the drow’s feet, severed at the knuckle.

Gantes rose and strolled toward the drow, gasping wetly for breath. Already the furs of his cloak were slick with his blood as the garrote cut into the slender neck. The hobgoblin chief produced a slim bladed dirk from his weapons-belt. With a grunt the hobgoblin ripped open drow’s garments, revealing the black chain shirt beneath.

Gantes looked disappointed briefly, then his eyes fell on the face of the suffocating emissary. He smiled, revealing broken and jagged yellow teeth, before raising the blade to Drysmorlin’s forehead and carving in the flesh, “I accept.”

As the blade parted his skin, and the life fled him, the last thing Drysmorlin heard was the throaty voice of Klarg sighing heavily before saying disappointedly. “Head has the message so Klarg can’t keep it.”

The Tale of Discord
A Past Remembered

5341 Netheril Year

And so it was that Kalsi’anon, the most favored and secreted land within the deserts of Calimshan, lived for a two millennia in peace and prosperity. The mythical oasis was known throughout legend as place of learning, introspection, and ultimate harmony, though few ever gained admittance. For Kalsi’anon was a sacred place, where only those invited to walk the lapis lazuli halls could enter.

The sanctity of this most blessed city was threatened as it never had been, three decades past, with the arrival of the Jin. The Jin, long enemies of the peaceful people of the desert, were known, yet their petty squabbles and selfish initiatives never posed a threat. Yet in the rule of Oron yn Yael yi Almraiven, the Jin aligned with powerful and evil primordials. These beings called themselves the Evil Elemental Princes and Princess, and served a strange power known as the Elder Elemental Eye. With their new found allies, the Jin threatened to bring war to Kalsi’anon, and shatter thousand of years of peace.

It was at this time of dire peril, that Sultan Oron and his first wife, Alya, were approached by an emissary of Shar, the blackest mistress. Normally one of that ilk would not be permitted within Kalsi’snon, however Shar’s ability to avert the impending disaster was known, and so Sultan Oron heard her offer. At the time Alya was round with child, and the Lady of Loss savored few things higher than the sorrow of a mother parted from her child.

Thus Shar’s compact was simple. She would divert the Jin and their primordial ally’s and in return, Oron and Alya’s child would bear her mark, forever to serve the Mistress of Night. Oron refused outright at first, yet after a time he had no choice. He acquiesced to Shar’s request.

Unbewknowst to any, Alya was pregnant with twins, and on the glorious day of their birth, the heirs to Kalsi’anon were born Assof yn Oron yn Yael yi Almraiven for the son, and Amalia yi Oron yn Yael yi Almraiven for the daughter. So sooner had the babes taken their first shrieking breath than Shar’s Emissary arrived, a demon of shadow and vilest putrescence.

“I have come to claim that which is my misstress’s,” The creature spoke. “You must choose which one I will take and mark.”

The son, Assof shrieked and wailed, even in his new life knowing the corruption that was in his fragile presence. Yet Amalia, was still. She made no sound, and though it not possible, seemed to return the black gaze of the demon she now beheld.

Though it pained him, Oron knew that Assof, as the son, though technically the later born, would be a more acceptable heir to the people of Kalsi’anon. And so, his heart heavy, he gave Amalia to the beast. The demon wrapped the newborn in his shadowy arms, and though the babe contorted, and her form changed, she did not make a sound.

“The babe is marked,” the demon hissed, “As in congruent with the arrangement. Yet I will not take her yet. I will come to claim her later, when you have come to love your daughter, and the loss will be the sweeter.”

Alya wailed at her child’s corrupted form. And the sanctified halls and gardens were heavy with the sorrow of Oron’s pact. Yet Shar upheld her bargain, and war never came to Kalsi’anon.

The next day, Sultan Oron called upon me, his humble advisor. He held his new daughter, his eyes heavy and red with sorrow and lack of rest.

“We will deny the black-bitch of loss this at least,” his imperial voice sounded aloud. “Amalia’s presence will cause only discord. For if her mother comes to love her, Shar’s bargain will be broken, as she will never surrender the child. You must take the child away from here, where her mother can never know her. Where I can never know her. Where we can never love her more than we do now. You must take this discord from us and keep it forever away from Kalsi’anon”

And so it was, that at my Sultan’s command, I fled with the child, to a remote hermitage that was sometimes used by contemplative scholars who visited Kalsi’anon. Knowing nothing of fatherhood, I raised the child as best I could. I called her Discord, in reference to the last instructions her father gave me, as I could never use her given name and risk discovery. ( Discord my child, as I came to know you as my own, should ever you read this, I am sorry. Sorry for my lack of knowledge in parenting, sorry for any mistakes I may have made, and sorry that I could not protect from a fate that you did not ask for.)

Now I lay near death, telling this story for the first time, as much has happened.I am not long for this world and hope to find the next life less cruel than this one.

First off the visitor came, strange and foreign. She knew of Discord’s past, or her parents bargain. She spoke of a pact that could be altered, as it was never freely given by Discord, and how it could be altered. She spoke with the girl in length, and when she departed, she left a strange and magnificent sword she called Myrkur with the child.

Days later, although it had been decades, I immediately recognized the sinister presence of the shadow demon that had visited Kalsi’anon upon the day of the heir’s birth. The voice of the shadow demon was filled with icy rage, and it raked me with ephemeral claws that tore my flesh as if they were solid steel.

“What has she done!” the creature shrieked as it struck. “My lady will have her payment, yet I cannot command her to come with me!”

As the creature raged I called to Discord, telling her to flee into the desert. After she had fled the beast’s rage subsided only slightly. Turning to me with a malevolent leer the creature spoke these words with finality.

“Your Sultan is not so clever, and neither is she,” The shadow demon spat. "My lady will have her due. If she cannot have the daughter, she will claim the son. And if she cannot the claim the son, the compact is broken, and she will allow the Jin to usher in the ruin of Kalsi’anon. For they, and their hatred, are eternal.

I write these words as the last of my life leaves me. For I may be the only one to know the danger that Discord (My beloved child), Sultan Assof, and Kalsi’anon are now in. This cannot die with me, for they must be warned. If not, I fear the worst, as both the heirs are lost, and the primordials return to to our land to claim that which Shar denied them.

I die a loving father, though I have no children of my own, and a faithful servant to the Sultanate of Kalsi’anon.

Vizier Alhambhir

Rosch and wizards sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G

Hammer 9, Year of Three Sailing Ships, 1492 DR

The Called, less Gundren Rockseeker but with the battlerager Quetson the Clanless, defeated Sir Bluto and his band of knights. Upon killing him they discovered that he was the same knight wanted in Waterdeep for a vicious massacre a few years back, at which time he had mysteriously disappeared.

Before progressing further into White Plume Mountain the Called took a long rest, seeking shelter in the Discord’s magically summoned shelter. As they rested, they noticed a large group of monsters waiting for the magical shelter to fall, anticipating the time when could savage the Called.

The Called made a quick dash further into the mountain, breaking through, and then holding off, the monsters while they escaped behind a secret door that could only be seen and opened, with Sir Bluto’s key. Their escape route ended in a strange terraced chamber filled with monsters. The Called fought their way past three manticores, but ended up needing to flee the chamber quickly, as a trapped safe shattered the walls of force holding in the monsters, filling the lowest tier with water and a bevy of snarling beasts.

At last the Called discovered an opulent chamber, wherein they met the stout halfling warrior named Qesnef, who had been held captive within the chamber. Also within the chamber was the legendary blade Blackrazor. Discord, having been summoned by the blade, gave her Hexblade pact to Blackrazor, and Savra attuned with the dark blade, in exchange for various promises the blade made.

There appeared to be no way out of this chamber but back the way they came, and after a short rest, the Called prepared to wade through the tide of monsters they had left in their wake. Redknife Savra Belabranta could feel Blackrazor’s greedy anticipation, as it’s voracious hunger for souls would soon be fed.

1,000 EP, 200 PP
A necklace, tiara, bracelet, and ring, all a matched set, and worth 11,000 GP.
Boots of striding and springing, potion of greater healing, scroll of protection (fiends), armor of vulnerability (slashing.
Discord now has access to a Greater Hexblade Pact- Blackrazor.

White Plume Dangers
"Let's not go back in there."

Hammer 9, Year of Three Ships Sailing, 1492 DR

The Called, less Gundren Rockseeker but with Quetson the Clanless entered White Plume Mountain to brave the dangers therein and reclaim the famed weapons that were there. In their exploration, they solved a deadly puzzle that resulted in Redknife Savra Belabranta becoming the master of the strange flesh-construct, Content Not Found: null.

After navigating down the western hallway, they took kayaks on a strange floating river, only to be ambushed by ancient knights, led by a Sir Bluto, that seemed tasked with guarding this area of the dungeon. The brutal melee is still in process, and the adventurers try to persevere and continue their search for the legendary weapons that will help them defeat the evil elemental presence tearing the Dessarin Valley apart.

A Family Memory
Secrets in Blood

Rosch sat cross legged in his room at Hillcrest Manor, hands resting gently on his knees palms up. Even with his eyes closed Rosch could feel the shape of the room around him, the cracks in the walls, the stone beneath him. Slowly he focused his awareness inward, sharpening and reducing it until his mind was focused on his body. When his master taught him this technique it was difficult to learn, but once mastered was relatively easy. An unconscious smile played along his lips, as he remembered telling his master that, the man had laughed and told him the more his power grows the more difficulty it would become. He was correct of course, at this point getting to this level of body awareness took all of his focus.
Looking inside he could feel the pools of energy within his body, the mostly empty and broken pool of Ki energy, the undeveloped and mostly untapped pool of mana, and the large pool of Psi that circled both in his mind and all throughout his body in place of the Ki that most people had.
As he followed his pathways he saw that everything was as it should be, now to go deeper. There were secrets in his blood, deep secrets, passed down from the first Uskevren. His family had a cup that, once of age, every member would drink a small portion of their own blood from. His father had told him that the ceremony, for most, was just a tradition; but those that had the power, and the will of a true Uskevren, one that was to bold to hide, would be shown the secret of the Uskevren’s origin. That was the legend anyway.
Rosch had gone through the ceremony when he was a young man, before he mouthed off to the wrong creature and was broken. He knew he had grown much since the ceremony, he had made great friends and seen some of them die. He had started a company and helped goodly folk. He had freed slaves and conquered dragons. He had been broken and reforged his body with his mind and will. While he did not have the cup he did have his blood and as his master had taught him he was in control of his body and all things it represented. From the broken Ki pool to the tattoo on his chest or the secret in his blood; he would learn and control it all.
Letting his body go limp Rosch focused his power deeper into his body than ever before, he forced open a connection to his blood and through it to his family’s past. Generations of Uskevren’s past through his mind’s eye, a black haired woman climbing a tower at night, a burly man standing in the wild suddenly transforming into a wolf, a skinny man with a cocky grin floating in the air with lightning playing between his hands, an old man with sharp eye smoking a pipe. All these images and more flashed through mind as he force his way deeper. They were Uskevrens one and all, awoken to the power of their blood; but they were not the primarch, they were not the first.
Then the flow of images suddenly stopped and for a moment there was nothing, then with a flash of light and the sound of a crashing wave a man appeared. Rosch found himself standing on a ship rolling gently on the waves looking up he saw a single man standing behind railing of a higher deck looking down at him. The man wore a long coat of deep blue and black, a simple cutlass hung from his hip and there was an odd trident learning on the railing next to him. Rosch did not get the impression that he was an altogether good man, the hint of calculation in his eyes and the cruel turn of his lip made that seem unlikely.
“Wall now, wha’ ‘ave we ‘ere? A traveler to this place, an’ within out da cup as a buffer. Interesting. Ta do ‘is on ‘ur own is a mighty feat lad, mighty indeed.” The man said as he considered Rosch. “Me old blood runs true in you I think,” he finished thoughtfully.
The man’s dark glittering eyes continued to study Rosch, “Aye the power’s there, but none oh me charm, ye be an ugly one,” the man said laughing at his own joke. “So, what do you want? Tis no easy task coming here, I saw to that.”
Rosch was not sure what he meant by that but he knew this could only be his ancestor the one who started his house. “You’re him aren’t you, the first of the Uskavers?”
The man barked a laugh, “Aye lad, I’m the first of many households, I plowed a few fields in my time if you know my meaning,” with a courtly bow his face turned serious and proud, “but aye, Twas I that started our line of nobility in Simbia and tied the strength of my blood to my bloodline.”
“ So there is a secret to our line and to our blood?” Rosch asked eyes widening slightly. Rosch always believed there had to be but believed it to be some kind of information not, power.
“Well…” the man said with a knowing smile, “of a sort.”
The man stood straight and took up the trident from its resting place on the rail. “You’ve the right to know I guess, you more than most. You have shown true grit to get here, especially without the cup.” The man said with a shrug, “ so I’ll tell you some of the tail.”
“Yur from the blood of a pirate lad, twas never a well guarded secret really and many knew. But with wealth and power doors are opened that would otherwise be closed and allowances are made.” As the man talked he seemed to lose the rough broge that he had started the conversation with.
“No lad, the secret was not that I was a powerful pirate it’s how I became powerful.”
Rosch nodded at the man’s words, the rumors of the Uskevren’s pirate legacy were, if not common, still whispered in Simbia before he left.
“There are many reasons and tails for how I got to where I was, but those tails are not for today, you seek a secret so a secret you shall have. I had a Weapon of Power.” He stated simply.
Rosch looked at the man confused, “what the hell is that supposed to mean.”
The man grinned, “HA! Tis exactly what I said to the man what told me about the thing, but his words proved true.”
“Twas a trident lad, one similar to this one,” he said gesturing with the trident in his hand, “one the legends say were forged by giants for the sea god himself. A Weapon of Power.”
“Seek it out I did, and I find it I did,” the man said with a satisfied tone. “It twas even more then the stories gave it credit for, it could lay low the greatest of foes in a handful of blows, and commanded many magical abilities. But it is no mere tool, it posses a mind and purpose all it own and it does not suffer the weak to bear it.”
“Many have tried to take it up over the many years since it’s creation, elf, dwarf, man or giant. Many have tried and many have failed, some paying with their lives for their failure.”
“And what do you think I had, and some in my line have, that the others who had tried to take it up lacked?”
“The will to take it and to wield it,” Rosch said firmly.
“Aye lad, the will to take it and to rule it. And if you had the will to get here you’ve the will to take up that same power, I think.”
With a heave the man threw the trident into the wood at Rosch’s feet. “Seek it out if you would have my power. That trident served me well just as I served it and it’s purpose well but you must be able to control it, tis no simple weapon to take up.”
“How do I find it?”
The man got a cruel smile on his face, “Why, it calls to your blood or perhaps for your blood. If you can no master it or come to an accord with it, the weapon will kill you. Make no mistake.”
“Well then..”
“Ba! No more questions! You know what you need if you want it. Leave me to sail the breadth of my lines bloody immortality,” the man gave Rosch a grim smile. “Tis our lines gift to me for founding it after all.”
With that the world around Rosch seemed to explode in a torrent of red and black before fading away. When Rosch came to some time later his face was in a thin pool of blood formed from a small stream coming from his nose.

Off To White Plume Mountain
How the other side lives

Hammer 5, Year of Three Ships Sailing, 1492 DR

Discord, Redknife Savra Belabranta, and Gundren Rockseeker all met in Red Larch, however Brother Seeker Rosch Uskevren was not present. The heat was sweltering, uncharacteristic for this time of year, and the rain that sluiced down was hot and murky. The Called in attendance observed that the cryer-board in the middle of town was filled with recent notifications inquiring about the location of lost loved ones, and warning of monster sightings throughout the Dessarin Valley. They also noticed that a large area outside of Red Larch had become an impromptu refugee camp, as more and more farmers and their family’s were forced to abandon their homes due to banditry and creature attacks.

Gundren said he needed to attend to some business, telling the others that if they accompanied him they would be extended the privilege of being able to enter a place where non-dwarves were not normally allowed. Discord shared with Savra and Gundren some of her past, telling them that she was promised to Share by her parents and that she may have a way to be free of the mistress of loss and sorrow. Gundren, taken aback at first, told Discord that she was a friend to him and his clan, then placed a comforting hand on the warlock’s shoulder stating simply, “Worry not lass, we’ll fix this.”

At that moment, Nitasys, an old friend and Agent companion of Savra arrived with news that the Belabranta’s had sent her to find Savra. Her words resonated with Discord, coinciding with the visions the warlock had been having, and they left for Waterdeep that very morning. Gundren parted ways, wishing them all well, and went off to see into whatever it was he needed to attend to.

Hammer 8, Year of Three Ships Sailing, 1492 DR

Savra, Nitasys, and Discord arrived at the palatial Belabranta estate in Waterdeep. Discord and Nitasys were overcome by the opulence of the manor, and Savra received a fairly cool homecoming from her father, Giovanni Belabranta. There, an old family friend and prominent member of the Waterdhavian nobility entreated Savra’s help in returning a stolen heirloom. In the place of the heirloom, a strange poem was left, challenging any to come and retrieve the weapons. The note was signed with a strange rune. Savra, Discord, and Nitasys agreed to help.

Traveling to the City of the Dead, an expansive and famous walled cemetery within Waterdeep, the traveler’s utilized a teleportation circle located beneath a tomb that is in the care of the Harpers. From there they traveled to another teleportation circle in Neverwinter, located in the basement of a rickety three-story boarding house.

From Neverwinter, the band traveled 30 miles southwest, to White Plume Village in order to stage their expedition into White Plume Mountain. Once there, Discord was able to piece together what was happening to her. She realized that a sword of mythic power had been calling to her, fabled to exist within the mountain. She also was able to recall the legend of the wizard Kerapatis, realizing that the strange rune was the sigil of the legendary wizard.


Nightal 30, The Year of the Scarlett Witch, 1491 DR

A frigid winter wind blew across the scoured stony floor of the Sighing Valley. It tore at the hood of Redknife Savra Belabranta’s hood, pulling it back and cause her black hair to whip into her face. Raising her chin, Savra gathered the errant strands into her hands, and with a quick twist, tied her hair back in a tight pony tail. Out of the corner of her eye Savra noticed Beebo admiring her profile. Beebo was not subtle, about anything, and Savra gave her a acknowledging half-smile.

Ever since Savra had met Beebo, after the heros had hired her to run the stables at Feathergale Spire, Savra had taken note of the woman. Beebo had an understated beauty, and her amber eyes always shown with an engaging intensity. More then once Savra had imagined those eyes alight with passion. What is more, Beebo and Savra were the only survivors of the Cult of Howling Hatred’s revenge attack on the spire. They had both seen the atrocities of the cultist first hand perpetrated on people they had come to know.

Savra blocked out the gruesome memories of the attack, once again looking upon Beebo.

“What would mummy and daddy think,” Savra thought, her internal monologue affecting the highest of Waterdhavian inflections. The scandal would not come from the fact that Beebo was a woman. Savra’s parents had known for some time that her romantic interests were not discerned by gender. No, the scandal would come from Beebo’s station. After all, the Bellabranta family could never be acknowledge a romance with someone as low as Beebo.

“They don’t know the half of it,” Savra said under her breath, flushing with equal parts embarrassment and frustration as she thought of her early and inadvertent involvement with the cultists that now terrorized the Dessarin Valley.

“Was’at?” Beebo asked loudly, trying to be heard over the wind.

Savra was amazed Beebo heard anything at all. And despite her rough inflection, her voice was quiet nice.

“Nothing,” Savra smiled back, restoring her hood. "What is this “surprise” that warrants us being out here in this bitter cold? I am freezin’’ me tits off!" Savra said the last in perfectly inflected low common, like Beebo’s way of speaking, smiling teasingly at the trainer.

“Wouldn’t be a surprise if I told you,” Beebo turned and continued plodding through the shallow snow drifts that had been blown on to the valley floor. “If your Highness will attend?” Beebo called over her shoulder as she walked.

They plodded through the valley all morning. It was rough going over the cold, and uneven terrain. Savra’s armor was frost-covered, and heavy, but she wouldn’t dare traverse the valley without it. She hunted the manticores within the valley with The Society, and seen the knoll packs from overhead. The gauntlets Gundren Rockseeker had loaned her granted her improved strength, which helped. But, come late morning, she was glad to see Beebo stop atop a craggy out cropping, in front of a gash-like crevice, and begin unshouldering her pack.

“If only we had a way to fly,” Savra breathed out as she hauled herself the rest of the way up the ledge.

“Don’t want Jon and Winddancer up here,” Beebo said, removing heavy leather gauntlets like the ones Savra had seen her father’s falconers sport so often. “Perhaps her Highness can use her nose more’n her mouth for a tick?”

“I’ll have you know, her Highness has never had a complaint about the volume of her usage of her mouth,” Savra quipped.

As soon as Beebo mentioned it, Savra registered the smell. Even through the gusts Savra detected the carnal stink of decay. Letting her pack slip, Savra adjusted her great sword just in case, before cautiously approached the crag. Beebo seemed unconcerned and just waited patiently for Savra to come close.

It took Savra’s eyes a moment to adjust to the darkness, but she soon saw the source of the smell. Lying within the crag was a the bloated corpse of a female griffon. The majestic body was riddled with long black spines, the wounds around the spines were inflamed and wept viscous green fluid. Savra could only get so close, as the shelter of the cave seemed to store, and compound, the scent of putrefaction.

“Manticore got ’er,” Beebo said matter of factly.

Without further discourse Beebo reached her arms in and grabbed the corpse by the rear leonine legs, then gave a great heave. The bloated corpse jammed in the crevice, and the pressure caused the postmortem gases contained within the corpse to expel loudly in a flatulent-like explosion. Savra would have laughed, but she was too busy retching. Beebo heaved again. The corpse, now deflated, came loose, and Beebo drug it over to the side of the crevice. The corpse landed on the floor below in a squishy thunk.

“So,” Savra mused. "You brought me out in the cold, to brave the manticore and gnoll infested valley, to watch you throw a dead griffon off a cliff. How did you know that was what I always wanted?

Beebo smiled tartly at Savra and tossed her chin toward the craggy opening she had just pulled the dead griffon from.

Savra watched as a beaked head, like an eagle only significantly larger, feebly poked it’s way out of the crevice. The creature’s eyes were dull, and it shook as if straining under the effort of raising its own head. The head was as large as Savor’s chest, only slightly smaller than that of the dead griffon, and bore coarse black feathers in a line down the otherwise stark white plumage.

“I’m thinking’,” Beebo said returning to her pack where she fished out a large leather sack that was darkly stained at the bottom. “This one was still young, or youngish. Mum prolly spat some food into it, but the manticore’s poison was already in her. Weren’t enough to do for the babe, but it is in bad shape.” Beebo undid the bag she held and pulled out a side of raw mutton, still dripping with fresh gore.

“Like as not,” Beebo continued, placing the meat far enough away from the griffon that it would have to come out of the crevice to eat it. “This’un’ll die unless we take it in. What’s more, you and the others have been running aground of some nasty things of late. I seen you gettin’ pretty good at fighting atop Winddnacer, and I get concerned, for Winddancer of course. Winddancer is good, but hippogriffs can only do so much. Griffons, they can do a bit more. If you are inclined, I can help you train this one. It will take some time, and a herd’s worth’a meat, but I figure we can do it.”

Savra was over come with excitement. Ever since she had joined The Society she had wanted to ride a griffon. She grew up on the tales of the famed griffon cavalry of Waterdeep. This was a childhood dream come true!

Beebo could see that Savra was pleased. She focused on coaxing the young griffon out of the cave. After a time, the creature came, and was too weak to put up much of struggle as Beebo slipped on a hood on it’s raptor head. Next Beebo put a hobble on the creature’s legs. Try as it might, the griffon could only thrash weakly when Beebo lashed down its wings. Resignedly, the poisoned griffon flopped on its side, breathing shallowly.

Her work done, Beebo gathered her things strewn about the ledge back into her pack, then shouldered it. Making her way to ledge, she looked back at Savra expectantly.

“What?” Savra said, confused.

“Grab the damn thing,” Beebo exclaimed as she indicated to the bound griffon. “You’re strong as a bloody giant, and I am not going to carry it back.”

Savra made her way to the griffon and threw the creature over her shoulders, a pair of legs on either side of her head. It was heavy, and would have been impossible to carry were it not for her gauntlets. Savra couldn’t help but notice the strong talons on the fore legs, and the sharp feline claws of the rear-legs, so close to her face. She shifted the load a little to get it balanced, then began plodding her way down of the ledge.

“Don’t get used to this little one,” she said to the griffon bobbing ridiculously on her back with each step. “Next time we meet, you will be carrying me.”

Taming the Griffon will cost 1,000 gp in total and take 40 days of downtime. Beebo can do up to 30 of them, but Savra will have to spend at least10 days of downtime to get the griffon used to her.


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