Tales from the Road Less Traveled

A Subtle Hint
Cthulhu Speaks

Kufuzzle’s knees buckled as the Blue Company clambered up the small rise within the offshoot cave as the all sought refuge. They had just fought a series of engagements as they had descended into the bowels of the ruins of Tel Amn Coran. Several minutes ago Shedinn, the Baron’s brother, had just been torn to pieces. The Company was in retreat and now had to make the decision to stand and fight the remainder of the amphibious beasts or to dive into the nearby tunnel to make a hasty escape.

Kufuzzle had performed admirably in the combats and had not suffered undue damage but he felt that his senses were being overridden again by the being that saved him from a watery death several years ago. This being whom Kufuzzle had identified as a Great Old One would occasionally speak to him from within the depths of his soul. It was altogether an awesome, yet, somewhat, disquieting experience. Kufuzzle had a fleeting thought that of all times, now may not be the best…..as he and the Blue Company were in a tight spot at the present time……

Yet, within Kufuzzle’s soul the words of his savior reverberated throughout his consciousness…..

“Your companion, the Moron, is now no more. He slipped his mortal coil within the surface ruins of which you are now below. If you wish to survive, pray that you remain silent of your reverence to me and my kind. Now is not the time for foolishness. You were saved for a purpose so do not treat this opportunity lightly. Your pact with me must stay hidden and if you remain resolute to this ideal than shall you be well rewarded. If not, then you shall surely perish and my gift to you will be wasted. If that comes to pass then I shall take you for my folly in your afterlife which will, most certainly, be nothing but a horror visited upon you for eternity.

Heed my words……as I do not normally speak freely with chattel such as thee……..Therefore, do not die and do not speak of me glibly. It is not yet time for my return…….Forswear yourself to this and you shall escape this predicament…….that is all. For Now…….."

Kufuzzle swayed with confusion and then regained his composure. And then he saw the door to a hewn stone built structure open……….

Sarjakk the Apostate

The illithid, known in these parts of the high Underdark as Sarjakk the Apostate, had a decent lair. The floors of the caverns that made his lair were approximately 95 feet below the exposed surface floors of ruins of Tel Amn Coran. This wasn’t the illithid’s actual intention when it took control of the region where it built it’s small stone abode but upon further exploration it discovered that a natural shifting of the stone and soil had allowed for the lower area of the ruins to be accessed via a conduit created by the flow of underground water. Sarjakk, then, came to value it’s lair as it allowed for access, albeit guarded, to the strange sunlit world above whence it could, via its thralls, effect raids for slaves and sentient food items. Furthermore, the former inhabitants of the ruins, still lived in the area as they through unfortunate magics now existed as twisted beings who valued existence only to collect and trade mystical items. Fortunately, for Sarjakk, these twisted beings valued exchanging what was left of their knowledge or other enchanted items acquired by them through, obviously, foul means for enchanted items that Sarjakk would eventually steal back from them. Therefore, Sarjakk’s current arrangements were quite accommodating indeed….until now.

Ever since Sarjakk fled where he originated from, a place deep under the annoying Stout One’s realm of Morridan, he was subjected to danger and capture. Sarjakk chose to disavow the religion of his kind and fall back (as they would say) into the adoration, no, rather the veneration of their traditional deity called Ilsensine. Illithids, or rather Mind Flayers, as they are more commonly referred to by most of the races which inhabit the sunlit realms of above, didn’t actually worship that which lairs in the Caverns of Thought far below the Concordant Domain of the Outlands, rather, they venerated the godlike being for its vast and all perceiving intellect. Yet, nearly the same time as the surface dwelling elves suffered their world empire ending catastrophe, so too did the members of the unified illithid race which lived far underneath most of the regions of Aerth. This catastrophe of the illithids allowed for the veneration of a far more insidious nature for Ilsensine was one, and the focus of the illithid’s new reverence were (and still are) legion. It has been just over 1,300 surface years since the majority of the illithid race on Aerth had changed their veneration from Ilsensine to that of the Great Old Ones. The Great Old Ones, perhaps, were the original pantheon worshipped, or at least venerated by the illithids, however, the particulars of if and when they were have been lost into time and the vast depths of the Underdark for millennia. Sarjakk, for whatever was it’s own reasonings long ago, decided that veneration of the Great Old Ones clashed with it’s inner demeanor and it began to research the lost venerations of Ilsensine to the great dismay of it’s peers. Ultimately, Sarjakk feared for its existence and fled beyond the limits of its realm. Sixty surface years, in time reckoning, had passed since Sarjakk had found sanctuary below the ruins of Tel Amn Coran. Sixty surface years of relative peace, safety and freedom to raid for slaves and sentient beings for consumption had elapsed and had now had come crashing into violence and danger. It was not that Sarjakk’s lair was exempt from intrusion, in fact, Sarjakk found the occasional foray by the dwellers of the sunlit realms to be a type of boon, for always those incursions were ill equipped, ill led and allowed for Sarjakk and his thralls to capture slaves and food without that much effort. But recently, a large band of intruders changed the decades-old routine. For Sarjakk, his home had been invaded and invaded in force. His thralls were being cut down, and despite the fact that his thralls and creatures had indeed ripped one of the intruders apart, it looked now that Sarjakk, himself, had to make a decision. Should he flee or should he exit his defensive structure and make one concerted effort to do what his thralls could not…and that would be to vanquish these intruders with great prejudice.

These impudent cattle! How dare they burst in on me! They have no idea the pain I shall visit upon them as I dine upon their sentience after they are defeated!

Who is this lizard that directs this band? I shall feast upon him last! And this little one! His mind reeks of adoration for the Great Old Ones. His mind is keen, but I shall keep him as a thrall so he can help replace that which they have destroyed! O, fool of small stature, surely you don’t comprehend the vileness of those which you adore? You shall live, you fool, but you shall learn to adore me instead of those who seek all. For I shall soon be your god!

….thin fingers belonging to a gaunt hand greenish-brown in coloration reached out and sought the locking mechanism to the door which led out into the caverns whence the intruders bettered, or at least equalled, the illithid’s thralls in combat.

The Purple Dragon
The Tale of Sir Drake

Knight_drake.gifBaalthazar kneels behind the urn of Sir Lichtenstein. The morning sun warms his face as it rises higher into the morning sky. There was a chill in the air this spring morning of Mirtul. The raiding season of the giants would start soon and he has not seen his brother in two days. His eyes are closed, but still feels the penetrating of the Morninglord fill his body. He longs to remain in prayer and let the day pass without needing to address the issues of the people, his brother, or his restless companions. One of the kobolds yip beside him; they have never had to sit still this long and are getting restless. The sound of movement in front of him interrupts his reverie, and Balthazar’s eyes snap open.

The morning sun blinds his vision making the hulking figure before him a shadowy silhouette. The kobolds, creatures of the dark, scamper behind Baalthazar, taking defensive stances and blocking the sun with their wiry arms. Baalthazar sees his Lord’s head; it make derisive snort and says, “You have much work to do.”

“Salve draco dominum,” calls the traveler in high elvish as he dismounts his large black steed. “I am Sir Drake, Purple Dragon of Cormyr. You are Lord Baalthazar, I take it?”

Baalthazar stands to get a clear look at the traveler. He wears a white tabard with a purple dragons over polished platemail and carries a shield with the crest of two drakes. The kobolds yip and chatter behind Baalthazar, weaving between each other in a confusing pattern.

“I am indeed, Sir Drake, what bring you to Drachenheim.”

“The Dragonhome? How appropriate. I am here at your service. I was communing at the Citadel of the Northern Dawn and Lathander made my path clear. I am here to train with you.”

“You seek to learn the ways of the Kilij Ejderham?” While it was not unknown to induct humans into the Sword Dragon Order, Baalthazar had never seen one in his lifetime. Sir Drake’s confused look told Baalthazar this was not his quest.

“Nay, my lord. The family Drake has always supported the just dragons of the North. My bloodline is blessed with that of your kin. I am here to pledge my sword to you. You are a knight as I and I came to train you with what I know. I was hoping you would return the gesture. And I here you have giants to practice on.”

Baalthazar smiles at Sir Drake. He had grown weary of humans and their machinations. The Morninglord most assuredly sent Sir Drake to remind the Dragonkith that humans were not that different from his own people.

“Come sir Drake, let us speak over a pint of ale. Perhaps we can learn from one another.”

“You travel with kobolds, Lord Baalthazar?”

“The carry the same blood as you and I good knight. Would we be just in not providing a chance to serve the Morninglord?”

“Indeed my lord, point taken.”

A Debt Repaid
Some debts can never be

Baalthazar inspects the plans for the town Zasheir had drafted up. He pointed to a section on the east side of town.

“I think we should start the wall here. The east has the most damage; I believe with the bog to the south, this is the most common direction the giants attack from. Our forays into the wild lands seem to support this.” Baalthazar traces the line along the east side of town.

“M’lord, are you sure we shouldn’t rebuild the keep first. A formidable bastion the people can seek protection. I doubt we can build a wall before the first raids and the keep has a good foundation. Perhaps we can ask Dorm if any of his kin can help us.” Zasheir points to the location of Chainspire fortress on the map illustrate his point.

Baalthazar frowns; something that is lost on most non-dragonkith, but Zasheir knows it all too well. “That leaves the town unprotected. The giants will tear through the town just to get to the keep.”

“Fret not Lord Ball Spar, the town is already half destroyed. This will just clear the field to build fresh.” Renny hops up and sits at the edge of the table. “There’s little habitable on the east side of town. Although there is a nice patch of wild mulberries there that I would hate to see those brutes trample.”

Baalthazar smiles, and Renny pretends to shirk away. The little herald has grown on Baalthazar and his help has been invaluable. “Tell me master Renny, how goes the plans for the festival?”

“Sent out the invites. Every town down the Sword Coast will have posting on the grandest ranger gala Cormyr has ever seen. Which leads me to my next request, I would like to donate half my earnings to your cause, if perchance I can have one of the abandoned buildings in town?”

“Which building?” asks Zasheir quizzically.

Renny leans over the map points to one of the buildings on the map.

“What do you want with that building, master bard?” Baalthazar wonders what the little halfling is up to.

“Well, it has two features that I look for in a building, a sturdy stage and cellar that’s still intact. The outside needs some work, but I think I can manage. I want to open a tavern…”

The door flies open and Shedinn storms in, hurling a pouch across the room at his brother. Instantly, Baalthazar’s sword appears in his hand to parry the projectile. His other hand is open, palm forward as he whispers, “protect me.” The pouch reaches Baalthazar’s scimitar and stops in midflight, falling to the floor.

“There is the money I owe. My debt to the clan is paid. Do not bring it up to me again.” Shedinn squeezes his eyes shut and grabs head. Zasheir looks at Renny who shrugs and mouths the words ‘hang over’.

“Brother, your debt cannot be paid with mere silver. I do not hold this debt over you. Renounce your debt and you renounce your clan. And you will be no longer be my brother.”

“DON’T THREATEN ME, BAALTHAZAR!!!” The effort made Shedinn bend over in pain. “I did not ask to come to this cold forgotten land of hairless monkeys so that you can play Kilij Ejderham.”

“Careful brother, insulting the Morninglord will bring more than my wrath upon you.”

“I care not of your lord or his trivialities.”

“And you think you will be allowed to soar with our kin without his blessing. He will smite you down and make you walk amongst these hairless monkeys until the end of your days. Come, you need something to distract you from the hairless monkey ale.”

“Bah. You play noble with the humans. I’m going to find a place to be alone.” Shedinn turns to exit the room, he reaches for the door to slam it behind him, but fumbles and grasps at air. Resigned at the attempt, Shedinn simply storms out of the room.

“Brother, don’t travel too far from the town.” Baalthazar waits but gets no response. He looks from Zasheir to Renny.

“Brothers don’t let brothers adventure drunk,” chimes Renny. Baalthazar narrows his eyes at his herald. Renny hops off the table and sighs, “fine, I’ll go after him so he doesn’t get himself in trouble.” Renny walks causally to the door. “I’m gonna bring Alastair with me, the boy needs some exercise and if you ask me Lord Ball Spar, you have been neglecting his training.”

Zasheir noted the look of consternation on his lord. “What are you going to name the tavern?” asks Zasheir to distract his lord.

“The Famous Cock,“ he announces with a twirl of his hand. With a quick spin and exaggerated bow, Renny the Sot disappears down the hall.

The Moron of Grimhold

The small framed savage stood still in the dark moonlight being stared at by his entourage, and newly acquired traveling companion, whom he decreed an embodiment of Tyr the Northern god of War. his frame drenched in the blood of the hill giant they just faced, entrails and gore littered the campsite…

“with your bare hands? Max come on…” Valorous motherly tone was as cross as ever, their new woodelf cleric companion snickered in the dim firelight.

“I… gran always said you had to before your strength returne to normal.” sheepishly staring at the ground, his polite and sheepish demeanor opposite his feral combat ferocity.

“I don’t think that’s what she meant young one.” Beobarious chimed in attempting to stop a berating. “I’m sure she meant to do it quickly, but didn’t literally mea-”

“It doesn’t matter what she meant Beobarious, it is not something one does in civilized company. I would understand in front of us, but our woodelf companion is of a noble race and I dare to think what her opinion is of our near king after having witnessed this…event…” Valorous interupted.

“But Bob, Val, I have to eat the heart before the magic leaves. that’s the only way I can get stronger. killing something more powerful than me, eating it’s heart, and finding another. I want to prove I’m not useless. if I can’t be smart then I can be strong. I’ll die before I admit that I cannot become famous for my strength.” Max said as a group of servants ushered forward with buckets of water to begin cleaning him off.

“Well let me see if I can do something about keeping you presentable at least. we can use the leaves you found in the den to find a weapon that slays large creatures. Keen, or Maiming, or Flaming, or whatever the kids are calling it nowadays…”

The regal noble looking woman entered the mastiff’s end with a disgusted look on her face, seeing the wares she knew she was in the right place.

“you kind don’ com’ere much. what say you?” the pock marked blacksmith tending the circled forge in the center of the shop didn’t look up from his coals as she turned her nose at the stench.

“I need an axe that can cleave this easily. we are hunting dragons and I am told an axe that can cleave the skull of a giant, can pierce the scales of dragons…” Valorous said flatly as a servant dropped the skull of a giant on the floor, a large gash already in it’s skull.

“I think you have that you are looking for already madam? that mark there is from an axe I see…”

“That is from the strength of it’s owner an the final blow which felled this monstrosity, however the weapon used was sundered in the attempt. and we require one better…”

“Ah, well miss, it seems you want something harder than the common iron, I think I might have some adamantine that I can intersperse with some gold, to give it flexibility and keep it’s cutting edge, work like that doesn’t come cheap madam, the weight and balance that helps with unerringly striking your opponent is lost as the gold overwieghts the blade. but the lost accuracy makes up for it as it would cleave this skull in twain… The edge will stay keen, and slice clear through to vital organs much more easily than a normal weapon. I do not mean to insult your integrity but I do not have the money to buy the materials to craft the weapon. would you have downpayment so that I may start?”

Sky that rains Ice.

Beorhtic the Vast, Titled ruler of the Grimhold, back handed his manservant so fiercly that the novel he was holding followed with the trajectory of the strike and skittered across the room.
“How does such eloquent words follow such an imbecile!”
the manservant scurried to retrieve the book as his noble bellowed enviously of his sons fame and glory.
“Slaying a Cursed Giant in single combat, only because Tyr sent his avatar to break the curse! this cannot be true tales! MY son cannot garner that much favor to the gods!” his face reddened with anger looking expectantly at his servant as if awaiting an answer.
sheepishly he responded unsure if he was supposed to. “according to the tale m’lord the Giant grew in power each time he was slain, and your son somehow figured it out and finally pinned the flaming monstrosity until Tyr could arrive and deal the divine coup de grace. burning himself badly with the icy flames of the Fellfro-”
SEND FOR HIM AT ONCE!!!” Beorhtic cleared his dining table with a single sweep of his arm. standing almost as tall as dragonkin, He commanded with more than words. his manservant scurried out of the room, hurriedly ordering lesser servants to send for Maximus Thrax, Son of Beorhtic, Heir to the Grimhold.
“Yes M’lady, your father to be is quite upset at the adventures of your betrothed, Apparently the newest novel has decreed that he is blessed by the god of war and that he…is actually… a she. here is your liege’s copy if you would care to research further… like all the others.” giving a sly wink as they both understood she loved the books and her request that Valorous accompany Max was so that she could read of his adventures…

Fellmarg's Tomb

The journey to Fellmarg’s tomb seems calm an idyllic in the southern duchies of Cormyr, and even though the Order of the Griffon had no horses, there spirits remain high, mostly. Bulwurk boasts of the deeds they would accomplish and the songs that would be sung in their honor. Sora speaks little, and entirely in elvish, but the others cannot help but enjoy her presence as they walk. Often she will sprint ahead of the group to examine some bird or pick berries from trees. Stone plods along happily. Unlike other dwarves, Stone speaks often of gold and gems, and the best ways to find them. He claims he can even sniff out gold. For the other companions he speaks plainly and straight forward, but never passes an opportunity to jeer at Lucky, who appears to be the only member not enjoying their trek.

“I mean it Stone, I do not see why we can’t buy one horse. A small horse. A cheap. Small. Horse.” exclaims Lucky as he the group takes a break from their march. “I jest not when I say that I will be no good in a fight if my feet are battered and bruised.” Lucky had taken off his boots and is rubbing his feet, trying his best to present and honest visage of pain and suffering.

“Ye doan need a herse, Looky. The walk isn’t nearly as bod ’ere in the south lands. Moradan es coovered en rockeh heels that will really broose yer wee feet. An we cannae affoord a herse. Mehbe after we be compliten this mission fer the prince.” Stone takes a large bite from his dried venison as Sora came running back down the path. Lucky expects she found some rare skunk or another yellow flower that captivated her.

“Lufanis gowere moshen hai Fellmarg,” she exclaims excitingly. Bulwark and Lucky both turn to the dwarf, who has become her interpreter for the group. Sighing, Stone translates.

“She says we ‘ave foond the entrance to the toomb of Fellmarg, an that Looky should put back on his bewts ’cus he’s oopsetting the balence uf nature here.”

“You made that last part up Stone.” The troop quickly crested the hill revealing the cursed Tomb of Fellmarg.

The Trial

A fire burns warmly, but casts little light into Prince Heward’s study. The flickering shadows only hint at the vast number of books and scrolls that fill the many shelves. Slowly Prince Heward walks over to the fire.

“Well, my friends, you wish to work for the king? Go one a secret mission for king and country?”

“About that m’lord,” starts Lusciano, who is quickly silenced by the hand of the prince.

“Do not interrupt me again, mageling. As I see it, you volunteered for the job. Perhaps you’ve heard rumors around town about someone spreading the word of the Xoriati gods?” The blank looks on the companions faces told the prince that they were not familiar with the old ones. “I have reason to believe that someone seeks to bring back Zargon, the Returner. An ancient being from a time before the Vyshaantarii Empire. I need some adventurers that can work without being connected to the royal crown. I have sent a few Purple Dragons to find information and they have not returned. I am hoping you can prevail where they have not.”

“We will succeed!” exclaims Bulwark without a second thought.

“Indeed noble barbarian, I believe you can. Lets start this on a trial basis. I need you to enter the catacombs which contain Fellmarg’s Tomb. You must seek out and destroy Verag, a foul Gargoyle who hides in the catacombs. I believe the Verag is in league with the Cult of Zargon. Fellmarg’s Tomb is in the Duchy of Westvold, it is not hard to find, but many believe the place is cursed. Do not disturb the tomb, only Verag and his minions.”

“It shall be done. Come my friends, we have a mission.” Bulwark storms from the study with grim determination , followed quickly by Stone. Sora looks at Lucky and follows the dwarf, leaving Lucky looking between the open doorway and the prince.

“yes wizard, you will be compensated for your efforts,” says the prince, who then furrows his brow and adds, “Aventro, where have I heard that name before?”

“Fear not my liege, we are at your service. My stalwart companions are tenacious if nothing else.” Lucky bows and then exits the study, running to catch up with his band. Prince Heward waves his hand and the door closes, walks over to one of the many bookcases, and selects a text on Cormyrian lineage.

More Rumors and Wild Talk

News pertaining to Cormyr

Duke William of Northwarden has returned from Suzail and word is that he is under pressure to better defend his duchy from the giant raids from across the Sea of Storms.

Baron Baalthazar, formerly the half-dragon knight of Baron Giogioni Wyvernspur, has been elevated into the Barony of White Beard’s Landing. The town is said to already be prospering and merchants are now considering visiting the place.

King Svybaald of Telemark has sent word to King Roderick II of Cormyr that he has learned that the giants of Raumatharr have built some sort of colony within the fjords to west of his realm. He has suffered several raids from the giants and thinks that the colony within the fjords is the origin of the raids against northern Cormyr marshall from.

The forbidden Cult of the Dragon is said to have designs on one of a number of the baronies along the Sword Coast and Baron Carsyn Rowanmantle of Greenest has sent alarming reports to his liege lord, Count Carthyn Blacksilver of the County of North Forest, that his agents have learned that the area nearby has a large number of cultists operating within.

The Blue Company is rumored to be seeking new charter- this one signed by the new Baron Baalthazar. Moreover, the Moron of Grimhold, a member of the Company, has last month, reportedly slain a hill giant and exterminated a small clan of orcs within the Principality from whence he hails. It is rumored that he travels with a war priest of unknown origin and is seeking to return to the Blue Company.

The barons of the three Counties within the Duchy of the Northern Marches are said to have been embarrassed by the promotion of the lizard knight into their ranks. The Duke has sternly spoke in favor of the lizard and commands his counts to monitor their barons.

The High Priest of the Northwarden’s Temple to the Morninglord, The Citadel of the Northern Dawn, has continued to be alarmed at the rumors of someone preaching in the name of the Xoriati gods. He is said to be meeting with several of his peers within the Duchy of Yorkshire and the Duchy of Lancaster on the topic.

News from the mainland

The Magocracy of Gothaya has started to engage in naval raids upon the Kingdom of Svenlande from across the Bitter Sea, now that the spring thaw is underway. The Lotharian Theocracy is is bracing for renewed warfare from Gothaya upon its eastern frontier.

The Sultan of Calimshan is rumored to have issued letters of Marque to pirates and privateers so that raids along the western coast of Faerun and commence. These raids as said to maybe even go as far north as the coastlines of southern Cormyr.

The Brotherhood of the Griffon

People step gingerly out of the way as the tall dark-haired warrior as he strides into the magistrate’s office of Suzail. His muscular, shirtless frame draws eyes more than a few ladies in the stone building. They hide their smiles as they assess the northern barbarian’s swarthy physique. Bulwark wastes no time finding the well dressed scribe who scoffs at the barbarians approach. Behind them the door rattles open as the barbarian’s companions enter trying to keep up with him. They hurry to the table where the scribe gives an inaudible sigh and eyes each of the members. The dark haired barbarian, obviously from the principality of Grimhold stands proudly dressed only in buckskin breeches and fur boots. A broadsword that had seen too many winters, yet maintained with a well honed edge was strapped to his back. Besides him a dwarf, probably from the lands of Morridan to Grimholds west stands stoically beside him. Stones with dethek runes were woven into his bright red beard indicating he is a member of the Runestone clan. The dwarf wears simple leathers, leather cap and a drusus, unconventional for a dwarf and the scribe assumes that he is probably a rogue, the worst type, a dwarf rogue. Next to the dwarf stands a female sun elf, her golden hair is tied back and wears travelling leathers much like the dwarf. She also carries a short sword, but carries herself as a spellcaster. The Thieve’s Guild call them Spellfilchers and are highly paid in Cormyr. The scribe secretly motions to the guards who move to block the door and rest their hands on the swords. The last member of this troupe, a wizard who smiles sheepishly at the scribe. Wearing a blue tabbard and traveling breeches, the style of his clothes is that of Halruaa and the single gem on his forehead indicates he has been initiated as a wizard. The barbarian defiantly rests one fist on his hip and holds out pouch of silver falcons, allowing them to fall to the table with an audible clink.

“I’d like to purchase a writ of adventuring,” states the steely eyed Barbarian. The barbarian is taller than the stories he had heard, but it was obvious who he was, considering his lack of wit.

“It’s called an adventuring charter; you are the Moron of Grimhold, I presume,” replies the scribe. As expected Bulwark looks perplexed at the question, a look that quickly turns to rage as he reaches for the broadsword on his back. The guards draw their swords and prepare for the fight that is about to ensue. The dwarf quickly steps in front of the barbarian and places a hand on his companion to diffuse the situation.

“Are ye daft man? Aye this worrior be from the lands of Grimhold, but he not be dat idjit. Do ya see any lizards wit us. Dis be Bulwark, Barbarian warrior of Grimhold. I be the dwarf warrior Ulric Runestone.” The scribe motions for the guards to stand fast and smiles at the pair.

“My apologies, I mistook him for another Grimholder, they all look alike to me.” Opening the bag the scribe begins counting the falcons at an excruciatingly slow pace, going so far as to test the weight of suspicious looking coins. Even the normally patient dwarf seems irritated by the scribes antics. It’s not until the wizard steps forward, scoots the bag out of the way and taps on the table does the scribe take notice.

“Excuse me good sir, hi. How are you? Excellent. My name is Lusciano, Lusciano Aventro. Perhaps you’ve heard of me? No? Lucky Lusciano? Still nothing, huh? Oh never you worry, here’s the situation, we’re in town for a short period of time, we have a very special mission from a very special person, you may have heard of him, but we’re not allowed to tell you his name. All I can say is that he may or may not be a wizard and may or may not be of royal lineage. So that being said is there anyway we can speed up this process?” Lucky Lusciano places five gold lions onto the table hoping the bribe will speed the process up. The scribe, irritated by the group decides he has had enough of these outlanders and motions for the guards.

“Bribing a city official is capitol offense. Your request is forfiet and you shall…” The scribe is cut off before he can finish the sentence.

“That’s all right Cedric, these adventures are here at my behest. I asked them to obtain a charter so that everything can be legal when they assist me.” The scribe, Cedric, looks over to see Heward Ireabor step out of the shadows of the room. The arch-mage of the Cormyrian war wizards briskly dusts non-existent dirt from his impeccable purple robes. His neatly trimmed beard and shoulder length hair makes a dashing figure and he appears equally at ease in any setting.

“My apologies m’lord. I’ll get this done right away. What is the name of your company?” The scribe starts scribbling furiously with his quill.

“The Brotherhood of the Griffon,” states the barbarian, Bulwark, stepping forward.

“I heard the Brotherhood was wiped out in the northern wildlands, how did you come about this name?” Asks Prince Heward with genuine interest.

“I met a warrior in Skullwatch named Falin, he asked if I could help rebuild the brotherhood. So I came here to obtain a char-ter of adventuring.” Bulwark smiles at the scribe at remembering the name. The dwarf, Stone, puts his and over his face and the wizard, Lucky, just looks down and shakes his head. Prince Heward smirks and motions for the Cedric to continue.

“Can I get your names, any titles you carry, and your profession?” asks Cedric.

“In the effort to save time, allow me. The tall, dark, and shirtless one is Bulwark the Barbarian. He claims to have no last name, nor any title to speak of. My Short companion is, as he said, Ulric Runstone. We call him Stone for short. He is a warrior from Morridan. The quiet elf is Soranthena Hai Gwaedhel, we call her Sora; she is a Spellsword from some far away place I never learned to pronounce. And I am Lusciano “Lucky” Aventro, Halruuan wizard."

“And you are the leader of this group?” asks Cedric.

“Me? No; what would give you that idea. Bulwark is the leader.” Both Cedric and prince Heward look at the mage in astonishment.

Cedric quickly finishes the charter and sprinkles some sand to help it dry. “M’lord, would you like to sign this yourself?”

“Yes of course.” Prince Heward leans over the table, whispers and incantation, and a purple sigil appears on the page. “Now, if you four will accompany me. We’ll discuss that special mission you aren’t suppose to be talking about.”

Lucky gulped at the idea of what the arch-mage may have in store for them.


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