Tales of the Dragon Coast: A Forgotten Realms Adventure

The Sewers Have Eyes
Nope, No Black Fang!

After the thrilling adventure of the Return of Black Fang, most of the Heroes of Sandpoint wanted to rest. But one among them, Zephus Evensun, was eager to take the fight to the dragon! Despite not knowing the location of the dragon’s lair, the erstwhile paladin would not relinquish his dream. The rest of the party, Elsbeth, Kiba, and returning star Nero, distracted him by saying they needed his help coming up with a new name for the adventuring party (Kiba was not overly fond of being referred to as a wino). Keeping true to his obsession, Zephus focused on the name The Dragonbusters and it stuck.

The newly christened Dragonbusters decided to call in their debt to the Sand Fleas in order to discover more information on the Black Dragon Gang and hopefully the location of Black Fang’s Lair. They were a little hesitant to venture into the sewers where their contact awaited, but eventually decided to brave the stench. Inside, they met a Flea named Bloodsucker who instructed them to find the two keys that would open the way to the leader of the Fleas, Jisham Andoval.

After soundly defeating a group of skeletons and receiving a gift from a ghost child, Elsbeth and the other Busters came upon a mummy and his concubine. This was a powerful undead, however, and Zephus nearly lost his life battling the evil. He survived, however, and found a mummified hand that had some magical powers. They decided to rest and recover from their ordeal, and were fortunate not to be disturbed during their repose. After that they continued their roving, and discovered a room with a strange block on the wall. This block contained a puzzle that they used all their wits to solve. Inside the block was one of the keys to the end!

Moving on, the group was next accosted by a pod of rust monsters! Zephus and Elsbeth tried heroically to protect their metal gear, but unfortunately Elsbeth was not quick enough and her breastplate was badly damamged. The lightly armored Kiba and Nero helped make quick work of the beasts. Kiba found a nice set of bracers from a corpse nearby. Next the Busters found a room with several odd furnishings: a pillar that didn’t reach the ceiling, a ring in the wall, a crane, and a protruding block. Putting this all together, they were able to lower the crane into the putrid water and fish out a chest! Among other things, this chest contained a magical mask for Nero and the second key to the end!

One barrier remained before the group could even approach the door: water! Using a rope and a lot of luck, the group got everyone but Zephus across. Just then a group of sewer Crocs attacked! Making short work of the reptiles with the help of Kiba’s close affinity with animals, the Busters made it to the door. Soon they came to a very large room with a catwalk 20 feet above them. A pair of rogues, Trick and Trap, greeted them with their new task: cross the room alive! They were hard pressed to accomplish this, what with pits opening beneath them and Tanglefoot bags being thrown at them, but they persevered. On the other side, Jisham met them. He agreed to send his spies out on the Black Dragon Gang in return for their Flea Token. Any information they discover he would share with the Busters, but he warned it may take a while.

When would the Dragonbusters be able to bust their first dragon? The world may never know.

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Trial By Subterfuge
A tale of a Mage and her Bird

As Sandpoint lay under siege of the dragon Blackfang in the far North, Iseri continued her arcane training in the Calishite desert. Called into the study of Heldalel one morning, the elf beauty learned that she and her fellow apprentice Tevaga were to be enlisted into the Scholomance secret police and to be placed on assignment in Calimshan. Iseri remembered from studying tomes in Heldalel’s private collection that the Scholomance was a society of casters formed to monitor all forms and practices of magic and to take action against those organizations and persons whose goals posed a threat to the magical community at large.

The duo were transported to the Scholomance Potions and Sundry Apothecary, managed by the portly and unctious, but friendly Ydranos, a former travelling companion of their master and a powerful potions maker. They were provided a cover as shopgirls and given further intel on their assignment. Ydranos had grown suspicious of rumors that the insidious Cult of the Dragon was attempting to establish a foothold in the region. Ydranos had also been feeling unnatural disturbances in the magical flow of the area, as well as noting the disappearance of a cargo of exotic animals that might also serve as reagents for magical rituals. To that end, he had hired some mercenaries to investigate the matter, but they had disappeared after following up on a hot lead. Ydranos was hoping the intelligence and skill of Heldalel’s students would succeed where brute force had previously failed in rooting out the cause of these disturbing rumors. Ydranos also promised an additional sum of cash along with regular wages for the procurement of the missing beasts.

After drawing up contracts and supplying the girls with some rather ahem revealing uniforms, the storekeep offered to Iseri a very rare and special bird. A Spelltouched Raven (dubbed Darkholme by Iseri) of uncommon intelligence and rumored to possess hidden magical aptitudes of its own. A little coaxing and a treat forged the beginnings of what will likely be a long friendship!

The agents began their daily duties, with Iseri being given the task of lookout slash attractive billboard. few leads were found through inertia, and so Ydranos suggested the mercenaries guild, as they were seeing a huge boom from an unknown benefactor. One black robed proposition was all it took to light the trail red hot! Informing Ydranos of their plans, Iseri and Tevaga were given a copper bird feather token so that Ydranos might observe their positions through the aether. Bidding them good luck he left the mages on their way.

The hooded herald met with the girls later that night and escorted them to a hidden compound below an abandoned household in the heart of Calimshan. Below the city, a bustling base of mercenaries and robed figures hustled throughout the place, moving goods or themselves to and fro. The herald invited elf and half orc to rest whilst he prepared a meeting with ‘The Master’. Here at last came a chance to explore and Iseri was once again the lady of the hour as her hulking compatriot took up the snooze… Err watch!!

Monstrous spiders, lecherous guardsmen and encrypted locks abounds were the order of business. Fortunately for a skilled Rogue Mage, business is always good! Exploration yielded the location of the missing mercs and a bit of lock picking and careful stealth left the treasury ripe for the robbing! Of note was a magical coin known as Lady Luck’s Whimsy, a totem of great value to the followers of Lady Luck that could alter events to provide a second chance to the fortunate! Alas however, the stolen wildlife was nowhere to be found.

Deciding not to press her time, Iseri returned to the waiting room, where the herald had luckily just returned to fetch her for an audience. The massive audience hall she was led to contained massive braziers of shining brass, shaped as chimera and in the back of the room in silks, gems and gold regalia stood the leader of this outpost, the fearsome Rakshasa- Salakh the Sand Dragon!! Lesser adventurers might have been overwhelmed by such as this, but the Rogue kept her cool, even as Salakh divined that Scholomance had sent her to thwart him. By suggesting her loyalty was up for sale, Iseri managed to placate the haughty cult leader and was offered a chance to prove her worth by defeating two ogres in combat. Through slight of hand, a bit of magic, and her silver tongue, the elf soon had the two brutes bashing each other as Salakh cackled at the spectacle. They were soon interrupted as Scholomance forces and the town guard assaulted the main entrance and Salakh was forced to flee after dispatching the ogres in cold blood. The missing animals were recovered from the secret rooms hidden in the main audience chamber and Iseri was able to continue her training under Ydranos, now with a trusty new friend, choice magical gear and a fat purse. All the things a growing Rogue needs!

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The Return of Black Fang
Sandpoint in danger!

As our adventure begins, the Elsbeth and her followers, the Expensive Winos, were resting from their ordeal against Menrar the gnome. They spent a wonderful night in the room of their new lawyer, a succubus, who offered to sort out the legal hurdles standing in the way of the group taking possession of the now ownerless mansion. Also, she gave a powerful Composite Longbow to the ranger Kiba, who had unfortunately tried on a belt that turned him into a slightly wiser and much prettier female version of himself. All Zephus got was a kiss from the succubus. As they were groggily awakening from their slumber, the Ranger Warden of Sandpoint, Shalelu, burst into the house. The town of Sandpoint was under attack by the group’s old nemesis, Black Fang!

Arriving in Sandpoint, the Winos discover that the area of town around the Rusty Dragon Inn and the Docks were especially hard hit by the dragon. After being oriented to the situation by Shalelu, the group rushed out into town to start herding townsfolk back to the magically protected tavern. First they rescued several shopkeepers and other citizens before coming across a collapsed house. While attempting to extricate the inhabitants the dragon attacked! Heroically, the Winos managed to save all five people from the house while nearly being melted by the black dragon’s acid.

Receiving some aid in the tavern for their hurts, the group decided to re-embark into town to try to discover the reason for the dragon’s attack. This time they attempt to take a more surreptitious route. According to Shalelu’s intelligence the docks would be the most likely place to find out any information. As they set out via the back exit from the tavern, the group came upon an out of place crate. Lifting it up, they found a large snake inside. Kiba skillfully calmed the snake and talked it into accompanying them, and affectionately named it David. Immediately after rescuing the snake, a strange group of black robed figures attacked. Quickly dispatching them, the Winos made their way to the dock warehouse.

While Elsbeth attempted to break down the locked warehouse door, Zephus and Kiba (with his friend Dave) snuck around to either side. There they found two opposing groups arguing. One looked like members of the same group that had attacked them earlier, while the other wore sand-colored garments. Coming to the aid of the sand-colored people, the Winos swiftly dispatched the others (Elsbeth never did get the door open.) Afterwards, the sand-colored people identified themselves as the Sand Fleas, a covert organization. As reward, the Fleas gave the Winos a token and would look the other way while the group went into the warehouse.

Inside the warehouse, the Winos found loads of contraband, mostly consisting of strange animal parts but also some potions. Elsbeth found a strange, speckled egg among the contraband. Taking a few samples of the illicit material along with a few of the dragon-headed brooches the black robed figures wore, the Winos made to return to the Rusty Dragon. As they crossed the courtyard, however, Black Fang made his move!

Savagely, the dragon spewed his acid upon the hapless group. His brutal attack drove the brave ranger Kiba from the high ground, and nearly ended the noble paladin Zephus, if it had not been for a timely Command from the holy cleric Elsbeth. Asserting her authority once again over the frustrated dragon, Elsbeth bade it fall to the ground. After beating on the poor dragon mercilessly for several seconds, the dragon appeared to receive an order from a greater power, and broke free of the adventurers’ assault and fled.

Triumphantly, the Winos returned to the inn. They asked the innkeeper, Ameiko Kaijitsu, about the Sand Fleas and the dragon brooches. She didn’t know about the brooches, but the Sand Fleas were revealed to be Sandpoint’s local spy guild. The Flea token marked a debt to the group for saving the life of a Flea. Zephus decided to send a message to the Order of the Radiant Heart in Westgate requesting information on the dragon brooch, and Kiba said he would talk to his local contacts about it. Elsbeth decided to send her fairy dragon egg to her mysterious hometown for hatching. Then the group decided to get wasted to prepare for the next adventure!

TL;DR: You need to get a longer attention span you lazy grue!

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The Tower of Ahl Kazohr
A tale of beasts and of beer.

Prior to the journey of Zephus, Elsbeth and Kiba to the menacing mansion of Menrar the Malevolent, Iseri of Silverymoon passed a quiet evening in the Rusty Dragon tavern and inn, happily counting the contents of the group’s money purse with a feeling of supreme satisfaction. A feeling no doubt compounded by the fine bottle of wine she decided to reward herself with for a hard day’s calculations.

As the night came to a close, Iseri found herself joined in the now empty tavern by a mysterious new guest, tall and hulking in stature, hooded in a rich violet cloak covered in golden runes. Initially perturbed by the sight of this lone guest and un-nerved that the innkeeper seemed to pay him no mind, Iseri thought to avoid trouble, but was confronted directly before she could away to her bedchambers.

The mysterious patron revealed herself to be a female half orc by the name of Tevaga Bruschere, acolyte and messenger to the elven Archmage Heldalel Ahl Kazohr of Calimshan. It turned out that the energy heart gem recovered from the dungeon of Blackfang doubled as a totem the wizard had marked out in his youth along with other items scattered around the face of Toril to find potential candidates to teach the Art of the Weave. Iseri had been selected and now Tevaga had been sent to make an offer and bring the rogue before her master for an audience.

The elf was hesitant at first, her parents having both been mages and insufferably boring. There also seemed to be no prospect of gaining further wealth. But still, learning to become invisible could be a great boon to her treasure hunting career! Before setting out, Iseri decided to pack the collected wealth of the entire group in case of an emergency, leaving an IOU in the group’s empty wallets. Returning to the common room, Tevaga produced a scroll and vial of an unknown substance to teleport the two to the arranged meeting place. The force of this spell was so great that try as she may to stay conscious, Iseri blacked out.

The rogue awoke sometime later in a small oasis somewhere in the Calishite desert. From her small resting place she managed to make out a tower in the distance but decided against daytime travel, as a scorching, unforgiving sun sat high in the sky. Deciding to wait until nightfall, the rogue passed the time with some skinny dipping in a nearby pond to keep her cool while the sun blazed overhead.

At nightfall, Iseri began her trek, traveling approximately halfway to the tower before being waylaid by 2 large hunting cats who seemed to out out much farther than usual from their den in search of a meal. The fight was brutal, the male of the duo scoring many vicious blows and even managing at one point to bring the nimble thief down, though calm thinking and quick reflexes kept her from being a meal. Using some well placed caltrops to take the female out of the equation doubled with a mighty stroke from her shock rapier, the erudite elf cooked the alpha cat’s hide to a crunchy crisp while his female friend in feasting fled for finer pastures!

Arriving at the Tower of Ahl Kazohr, the rogue was informed that she was to undergo a trial of the wizard’s own making before meeting with him. Suspicious of tricks, but allured by the adventure of learning magic, the rogue entered the complex. Upon passing the entryway, Iseri was shocked to find that her purse had been magically lifted from her person by the wizard as an incentive to continue her journey (in addition to having the exit magically sealed behind her). Careful examination of the main hall revealed 2 things. One being the Archmage must be a blowhard of legendary proportions as the main hall contained three statues in the man’s likeness. Two being a series of secret passageways triggered by a device in the central and largest statue that led deeper into the tower. The left pass led to a long hallway that the rogue couldn’t see further down than was comfortable. The right hall though shorter in span, led to an altar guarded by a ferocious looking minotaur!!

Deciding to deal with the problem the was more visible, the ravishing rogue made a gutsy gamble to deal with the minotaur head on. Still this did not mean that Iseri abandoned all caution, staying within the archway into the minotaur’s chamber, she managed to ingratiate the guardian to her by providing it with a bottle of fine Rusty Dragon ale and a fast friendship was soon forged! Deciding to risk entry further into the room, Iseri’s keen ears heard a force wall hum into place beside her as the guardian presented her with a pre-written note that she must overcome him and gain possession of the object he was to guard. In a show of magnanimity, the buzzed bovine laid aside his ferocious double bladed axe in favor of a far less lethal instrument: a hard rubber flail. The test then began in earnest, with the elf scoring a magnificent thrust to the minotaur’s rear that left him surprised and in a considerable amount of pain! However the battle ended with a pulverizing blow from the guardian’s rubber flail and Iseri’s world again faded to black….

She awoke sometime later to the great relief of the guardian who had nursed her back to consciousness as best as he was able. Amidst trading an affectionate hug with the good natured brute, the rogue demonstrated a little sleight of hand that allowed her to replace the guardian’s object with his food dish! A final farewell brought Iseri to the opposing hallway which were found to be entirely plain (no tapestries in sight! What kind of hell was this!?) and devoid of traps. Opting for a simple course of action, Iseri took a middle road path which led to another door of force. Using her medallion as a key, the rogue was able to bypass it and was brought face to face with both Ahl Kazohr and Tevaaga and a fine breakfast as well as her earnings from previous adventures!!! Minus of course what she had purloined fromher friends of course!

Following a resplendent meal in the Archmage’s much more furnished study (complete with tapestries!) Iseri was again offered the chance to study and become an acolyte directly under the Calishite wizard. She accepted his hospitality and was rewarded with a fine set of silk robes. Following 2 weeks of rigorous training, Iseri and Tevaga were once again called before Heldalel. The first order of business was for the Archmage to offer his praises to Iseri for her quick mastery of the basic arts of magic, as well as to reward her with an Acolyte’s wand in the shape of her master’s staff (at perhaps an eighth of it’s size). The next order of business was to discuss to burgeoning mage’s next test, one that would ask her to travel to the exotic city of Calimport to infiltrate the insidious Cult of the Dragon!!

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Menrar's Mansion
How the deed was done.

We rejoin our friends and semi-heroes Zephus Evensun the Paladin and Elsbeth the Cleric of Lathander in a room at the Rusty Dragon Inn. Both were sound asleep when the tavern’s bouncer, one Kiba, Ranger Esquire, awakened them. Unable to pay their bill, the pair were about to be evicted from the premises when the beautiful and forgiving proprietess, Ameiko Kaijitsu, offered them an alternative. A letter had arrived for the adventurers containing a business proposition from a mysterious person known as Menrar. They agreed to do this in exchange for handing over the proceeds to Kaijitsu towards their bill. Off they went, with Kiba accompanying them as insurance that they kept their word.

At the mansion of Menrar, the troupe were quickly embroiled in a 100 year old murder mystery. Zephus energetically led the investigation, even to the detriment of his companion Elsbeth trapped in a tchotchke. After hours upon hours of interrogating the tragically murdered ghosts without a thought for their poor bruised psyches, Zephus and his harried squad of plainclothes finally succeeded in solving the cold case. Finding a door with a magic mouth that asked for the who, how, and why of the murder, Zephus knew he had come to the door of the mansion’s primary resident, Menrar. Ignoring the protests of his escort Kiba regarding legions of dangerous monsters still roaming free in the mansion, the erstwhile paladin plunged into the room.

Inside he was met by the voice of the vile gnome illusionist, Menrar (the rest of him was hidden behind his human-sized desk). Instantly a fight broke out, with the gnome and his devious dweomers of distraction quickly gaining an advantage over the reluctant adventurers. Just when Kiba triumphantly landed an arrow on his antagonist, the wily wizard had another trick up his sleeve: dimension door! Reappearing in the hallway outside his room, Menrar quickly used the reprieve to summon his allies. Cursing themselves for not clearing away the threats beforehand, the trio rushed out to do battle. Braving orcs, goblins, fear, invisible gnomes, and several bouts with unconsciousness, the party finally emerged triumphant! After meeting a solicitous succubus who promised to smooth their takeover of the mansion, the crew left to head back to Sandpoint. Outside, the party were met by Shalelu, the local ranger. She brought ominous news:

The town of Sandpoint was under attack by Black Fang!

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Into the Eyes Compound
Another adventure of Zephus Evensun

Immediately upon returning from the Ruins of the Raven’s Watch, Zephus Evensun made ready to journey once again to Westgate. There he reported to Sir Devan Stoutheart of the Order of the Radiant Heart. Sir Devan listened intently as Zephus told of his adventures, and accepted the coded text Zephus had obtained in the ruins. Then Zephus showed Devan the sword he had found. Devan immediately recognized it as the sword of Sir Ovral the Falcon, a knight of the Order generations removed. Upon further research, Devan had found that Ovral had left Athkatla to spread the teachings of the Order but had disappeared years later. Perhaps it was Ovral who founded the Raven’s Watch…

That line of thinking would have to wait, however, as Devan had a much more important task for Zephus. The Eyes of Justice, an organization of Torm worshippers, was already established as the administrators of law and order in Westgate. Ordinarily the Order would be content to serve and support such a group. Unfortunately, despite the efforts of the Eyes, Westgate has no law and order. The Order suspected corruption, and sent an operative there soon after their arrival. Now that operative, a Lady Myrna Felsof, has communicated that she has found evidence of that corruption. Zehpus was tasked with retrieving that information as painlessly as possible. He was sent under the cover of working out a diplomatic arrangement with the Eyes on behalf of the Order.

Arriving at the Eyes compound, Zephus found that he was fooling no one. The Eyes leader, Tevar Brightstar, once a promising member of the Order himself, saw right through his actions. Tevar promptly had Zephus jailed. While in jail, Zephus made contact with other prisoners, all former Eyes members. One of these, named Devlin, wished Zephus to lead a revolt of prisoners against Tevar. Another, a surly, unshaven man named Gruf, argued that course would be folly. Luckily Lady Myrna soon arrived with another option: she would escort Zephus to Tevar’s office herself, as if he had decided to reveal his true mission. There the two of them would find the evidence against Tevar and escape. Zephus was eager but Myrna first had to serve her guard shift.
Zephus decided to get some rest before the following days exertions and went to sleep. His rest was interrupted, though, by the clang of a cell door opening. Two guards were roughly extracting Gruf from his cell. As he tried futilely to escape their grip, Gruf shouted out, “You see Zephus! This is what they do to-” before he was knocked unconscious. A bit upset, Zephus still managed to get back to sleep.

In the morning, Myrna arrived as promised. She explained to Zephus where the evidence was hidden in Tevar’s office and then led him out of the cell area at swordpoint. All seemed to be going well until they reached the stairs up to Tevar’s office. The doors ahead opened, and Tevar himself appeared. Beside him was Gruf, who had only been a plant of Tevar’s all along. Myrna made a show of placation by putting her sword to Zephus’ throat, but let him escape at his earliest opportunity. Leaving Myrna to fend for herself, Zephus rushed up the stairs and into Tevar’s office.

Thinking wisely, Zephus first retrieved his sword. Then he scooped up the evidence, a note written by Tevar, but before he could read it Gruf entered the office. Zephus had no time to curse himself for not barring the door as Gruf drew his sword and attacked. After several nasty hits from the Eye, Zephus finally succeeded in incapacitating his foe. Zephus then made his escape by lowering himself to the ground by the downspout. Safely out of the building but not willing to leave Myrna to Tevar’s tender mercies, Zephus sought to enter the compound again. Everywhere he went, though, he found only more alerted Eyes. He was at last able to confirm Myrna’s safety by contacting Devlin through his cell window, and decided the time was right to report back to Devan.

Back at the Order, Sir Devan acted quickly with the note Zephus had brought. It had been written to one Menrar, a known agent of the Cult of the Dragon, regarding payment for looking the other way on Cult crimes. Devan rushed it to the City Council which happened to be in session. He told Zephus it would be several hours before they could move on the compound, and it would be best to rest. Zephus did so, despite his desire to settle matters with Tevar.

Several hours later, Devan awakened Zephus and they traveled to the Eyes compound with a full contingent of Order knights. Devan told Zephus to free the prisoners, and so he returned to the cells from which he had recently been liberated. There he found a badly shaken Lady Myrna. Before escape could be rendered, however, a bitter and ruined Tevar leaped out at Zephus. Snarling and cursing the Order, he attacked. Despite Tevar’s greater skill and experience, Zephus easily outmatched the Eyes leader. He was perhaps aided by the sword of Ovral the Falcon, which seemed angered by the treacherous and traitorous Tevar. It shone out with a blue light, and sheared right through Tevar’s parry and into his shoulder.

Back again at the Order headquarters, Devan congratulated Zephus on a job well done. He had successfully uncovered the corruption of the Eyes of Justice and avoided any loss of life. For this Devan awarded Zephus with the rank of initiate of the Order of the Radiant Heart, along with the cloak of Torm that went along with it. Devan also told Zephus that Menrar, whom Tevar had been corresponding with, was based out of an estate on the outskirts of Sandpoint, in case Zephus wished to investigate further. Before Zephus could leave to rejoin his friends, Lady Myrna found him and awarded him a suit of full plate in gratitude for saving her life from the vengeance of Tevar. All in a day’s work for a paladin of Torm…

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Into the Labyrinth
Sacrilege on hallowed ground!!

Continuing deeper into the lighthouse’s inner sanctum the heroes found themselves confronted by a massive stone wall that stretched clean up to the ceiling. With only one mode of entrance available, the team found themselves in what appeared to be a maze, designed to deter any who would seek to make their way to Bayard’s mausoleum. It proved to be a quiet trek for the most part. Iseri exhibited an almost paranoid caution in being mindful for traps and snares, managing to locate and disarm a pit trap in an otherwise plain room and a saw blade in a dead end passage. One room was covered in ancient hieroglyphics that appeared to detail a Lathrandran priest’s journey into the afterlife. A particularly strange carving represented a man crossing a suspended bridge upside down on his hands. The team pondered what this could mean, but were unable to make a consensus on the matter. Coming to another portion of the maze led to a 40 ft. long gap which contained a sharp drop to some nasty looking spikes below. Elsbeth used a Light spell on one of Set’s arrows to determine if there was perhaps a release for a bridge on the other side, but the only thing there looked to be a lever. Set suggested that Iseri swing across with a grappling hook, but the ceiling provided no safe place for the elf the get a purchase with her hook. Deciding to re-examine the glyph room again for clues, the rogue was able to locate a small, circular switch hidden in a sun motif. A rumbling noise could be heard, followed by the sound of something dropping from the direction of the bridge echoing through the chamber.

The switch had opened a previously unknown passage. The heroes milled about hesitating on marching order and were greeted by a rumbling voice “Hurry up and come inside before you let a draft in!!” Moving down a narrow passage as the door closed behind them, the explorers soon came face to face with a towering Cyclops!! Sitting casually and stirring a stew of some kind, the creature introduced himself as Kytos and bade the heroes join him for some supper. Though uneasy at first, things became more amicable as the Cyclops talked at length of himself and inquired of the heroes as to their own story. Kytos had been a friend of Bayard during his days amongst the living and now served as a caretaker of sorts for the labyrinth. He also warned that the adventurers were not the first to pass through this way and that Kytos had caught the scent of goblins and lycanthropes. To aid the heroes in exchange for driving the interlopers away, the creature enchanted their weapons with a strange substance known as pseudo-silver, stating that such stuff would make were-creatures easier to slay. After a pleasant good bye, the team came back to the pit, where a primitive set of monkey bars allowed Iseri to cross over to the other side of the bridge and raise a platform for her less agile friends. Travelling up a winding path brought the team into conflict with a magically un-disarm able dart trap, but Iseri and Nero proved able to trigger it without being made into pin cushions and then guiding their allies through. At the other side of the pass, Iseri was able to stealthily spy on a small camp of hobgoblins, led by an ogre known as captain Regnath. They wore primitive armor that carried the Zhentarim mark and appeared to be engaging in food & song. Iseri hoped to gain a fast kill with the use of a fireball scroll, but a lack of magical talent caused the spell to fizzle and the hobgoblins to be alerted to their presence. Shrieking and bellowing brought the beginnings of a fierce battle. These goblins proved to be far tougher than their lesser kindred and Regnath bore a wicked club that may as well have been a tree pulled straight from the earth. More than once did Elsbeth have to heal her compatriots after a blow from Regnath’s club, but through strategy and a few vicious strikes of their own the team managed to beat back the crude mercenaries. Regnath himself fell to a Command spell followed by a vicious beating. The heroes then took the opportunity to camp out in relative safety in Kytos’ chamber, who was impressed after hearing of their trial.

A night’s rest brought healing and energy and the group decided to finish their exploration of the labyrinth. Moving past the goblin campsite, the heroes came to a triangular shaped chamber which contained three globe sized orbs filled with an unstable looking red energy. Iseri sensed no trap so she and Sumak went ahead. The room then sealed shut and a statue of an Imp holding an hourglass timer began the countdown to what seemed certain doom!! Iseri searched and could find no mechanisms for release, no secret pass leading out, no hope of escape!!! Deciding to give herself more time, the rogue used her crossbow to shatter the hourglass, which turned out to be the key to passing the room! Passing beyond this room, the group came to a chamber flooded with the same golden light as given off by the shrine at the upper level. Here they found Bayard’s lost crypt and three others. A tall, lanky man with long greasy black hair and a squat, balding rat like fellow searching the hierophant’s crypt for valuables. A short distance from them was a man in black full plate armor, richly enameled busting open a curio cabinet with a ferocious looking two-handed Morningstar in the shape of a holy symbol of Bane. He wore the vestments of a Banite priest over his armor and a blood red cloak. His entire presence carried an aura of something foul and he greeted the troupe in a smarmy, condescending fashion. “So these are the heroes of that pitiful beach side hovel?” he sneered. “I’d heard there was a Tormish knight amid your ranks as well. Did I scare him off? What a pity. I was looking forward to cracking his skull like a walnut!!” The group quickly tired of the evil knight’s theatrics, but he escaped their wrath via a teleportation spell. His subservients, Berbycus and Jolch, revealed themselves as a Werewolf and Wererat and thought to slay the team. Thankfully, the pseudo-silver provided by Kytos helped to overcome their natural strength and Sumak’s smiting power laid the beasts to rest. Following the battle, the group explored the main burial chamber and while reading the cleric’s epitaph inscribed on a golden tablet, Elsbeth was granted a vision. The saint appeared and informed her that the ones who desecrated his burial site were not there for treasure, but for his ashes. More important though was the urn that held his remains, as it was made of Orichalcum a material like unto Mithral, but as of gold in appearance, three times as rare and highly sought after for use in powerful magical rituals. The saint could not begin to guess for what use they intended of his urn, but feared the worst. To aid the heroes he directed them to a secret compartment in the base of his tomb that held a full account of his journeys with the heroes of the Silver Company that could be used to aid the people of Sandpoint.

Kytos appeared via a secret passage at this point and after a final moment’s respect for his friend Bayard, decided to leave the solitude of the lighthouse and aid in the retribution against those who would defile his friend’s resting place (not to mention he was also out of dried vegetables!) The people of Sandpoint were wary when the heroes returned, but Kytos was able to assure that he meant no threat. Abbot Zantus was able to provide a healthy sum of gold and identified Elsbeth’s bracers as part of a suit of armor once owned by Bayard! With a secret ritual he was able to unlock their full power and informed Elsbeth that he would write to fellow members of the church of Lathander to see if their histories contained any more knowledge of other pieces of Bayard’s gear. In private, he also told Elsbeth that he wished her and Sumak to join him in the re-birth of the militant arm of Lathander’s church for this region and to serve as emissaries to other such temples to gather other willing fighters. He also offered to take up Elsbeth as a student and train her further in the ways of divine magic at a later time should she wish it. Finally Zantus requested that he be allowed to peruse Bayard’s journals, stating that he would outline any pertinent information and help give the Sandpoint adventurers a place to start in what was looking to be the beginning of a long and dangerous journey!!

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The Quest of the Hierophant's Hold
The Plot Thickens!

Following their return to Sandpoint, Iseri and Sumak took some time to update their friends on their latest travails. A short 4 day rest allowed them time to rest and refine themselves in the manner as their peers had done. Iseri continued to invest her time and energy in a better understanding of the larcenist trade and Sumak devoted himself to combat training to be more mindful of holes in his defenses. Lathander also extended further blessings to his chosen soldier, proofing him against fear, bolstering his constitution against supernatural afflictions and vastly improving his healing powers, as well as giving him the mercy of removing the shaken status from those cursed by other worldly fear.

After time had passed, the team was approached by the abbot of the Sandpoint temple of Lathander, Abstalar Zantus. He had come to beg the favor of the mighty heroes in investigating a vision granted to him by St. Bayard the Blessed, a great saint in the Morninglord’s Church whose final resting place lay underneath an old lighthouse at the outskirts of the town. The abbot explained that Bayard had appeared to him in a dream-vision, wherein he warned that dark forces were seeking to commit an act of sacrilege against his hold and that they must be stopped in order to avoid an even greater catastrophe to come in the future. Sumak and Elsbeth felt naturally inclined to go in defense of their patron god. The abbot promised to find a suitable reward for the others and provided them with the keys to enter the lighthouse grounds. As they prepared to leave, Zantus urged them to gird themselves well for battle, knowing that whatever could draw the attention of spirits from the after-life must be of a fell nature indeed!

A half day’s journey brought the team to the lighthouse around afternoon. Upon entering they saw they had 2 choices, to either travel up to the height of the tower or to travel down and further inwards. Attempting to detect evil, Sumak could sense no immediate threat, but found that an unpleasant tingling sensation would not leave the back of his head. The group chose to travel down and after a careful trek through a dark, narrow hallway, found themselves at a juncture between 2 doors. One was made of round stone and possessed a mosaic of Bayard which looked back at them. It seemed to roll back, but not one of them was able to move it, even the mighty half-orc. The other door was opened with the aid of Zantus’ keys. This appeared to be a sort of common area, with braziers positioned around the room to provide light. Another mosaic of Bayard graced the central floor here. Taking time to carefully search, the group found that this place was treated as both a shrine and sort of historical landmark. A back room contained a reproduction of the study where the cleric spent a great deal of his time working against the machinations of the evil lich Szass Tam of Thay. They also located a small kitchen area where the maintenance crew for the place usually dined, in addition to a small chapel to Lathander and the saint’s private meditation quarters. Searching carefully, the team located a prophecy penned by Bayard predicting the rise of what Iseri suspected to be a draco-lich, while the chapel held censers filled with blessed oil. Elsbeth recognized the substance from her training days and realized that it could only be lit by use of a Light spell. Testing her assumption filled the room with brilliant golden light that made the coals of the braziers appear dim in comparison. Pocketing a flask of oil and leaving a hefty donation to the church in exchange, the team continued their searching. Iseri struck pay dirt when she uncovered a secret pull switch in Bayard’s main desk which opened a secret passage in the meditation room leading deeper into the hierophant’s sanctum. Set nearly wound up rolling down the steps at this discovery, but quick thinking and lightning reflexes saved him a trip!

Deciding to explore the upper expanse before moving deeper below, the group again puzzled at the mosaic door and how to open it. The 2 rogues were unable to devise any kind of mechanism and seeing no other option, Sumak appealed to Lathander for guidance. A soft voice whispered into the paladin’s mind, telling him that only by releasing the power of one’s inner light could the chamber be accessed. Thinking on this, Elsbeth tried casting a Light spell on the door, but to no avail, it remained shut. Journeying up the stairs, the group came to the top of the house, which ended in a three pronged terrace which looked out upon the shining sea. The 2 side prongs merely functioned as viewing ports, but the central platform housed a very precious relic indeed! A wide, round well shaped structure made of smooth gold, covered in celestial runes known as the Well of the Sun. As a cauldron would be to an arcane spell caster, such was this tool to Bayard. It greatly amplified his naturally impressive healing abilities and also allowed him to cast mighty defensive wards upon the town in times of war. Thinking on the words that Sumak had heard, Elsbeth filled the well with oil and cast her Light spell again. The runes came ablaze in an other-worldly glow and a blinding flash exploded from the chamber. Far below, a rumbling could be heard…

Going to investigate, the team found the mosaic door had swung back revealing a small room with three odd chests made of alabaster and polished brass. Inside 2 were a small fortune in gold and precious stones, while the third held far more interesting things. Elsbeth was given a beautiful pair of gold and steel vambraces which were covered in a sun based motif inlaid with red garnet stones. Strapping them on, the cleric felt a rush of divine energy but couldn’t place the exact nature of the effect. Nero came across an unusual pair of old leather shoes. Sumak thought to try them on, but was shocked as they began to protest mightily to being placed onto such large (and poorly kept) feet. They begged to be given Iseri’s dainty toes as their new living space, but the rogue was hesitant to wear such talkative footwear. In the end, Nero stored them in his pack to chatter away at one another while they determined what to do with them. Finally, Set uncovered a vial of what Elsbeth determined to be Dust of Illusion, which the ranger eagerly pocketed for later use.

Deciding to continue downward, the team passed across a row of sarcophagi, passing them lead to a narrow bridge which over looked a large chasm. Feeling emboldened by the relative safety of upper levels, Set plunged forward without light or caution and soon found himself at the mercy of a very unexpected person. A massive creature, with the body of a hulking brute and the head of a ferocious bull snarled and swung at the ranger with a lethal great-axe. The blade cut a massive rent into Set’s armor and flung him back, bleeding profusely. Deciding again on discretion being the better part of valor, the ranger pulled back and drew up his bow, while the rest of the team flanked him. Set launched an arrow straight into the creature’s chest, but it scarcely seemed more than irritated at the wound. Sumak and Elsbeth mended their companion’s wound while Sumak took to the front guard to engage the beast, calling on the Morninglord’s aid to strike down the foe. The Minotaur also took this time to invoke it’s own unique powers and summoned a crew of 6 burning skeletons with scimitars and longbows to back him up. Elsbeth proved the specialist in this case. Invoking the power of her god, a brilliant burst of light erupted from her morningstar, while her new bracers also shone with light. Half of the skeletons were immobilized by the fearsome light rays as they ripped through their corrupt physical substance. The others tried their best to back up the beast that summoned them, but found themselves unable to slow the heroes after such a heavy dose of divine wrath!! Iseri and Nero easily managed to take out 2 skeletons while Sumak wrestled with the bridge guardian, though even with his great strength, he had trouble competing against such a foe. A second blast from Elsbeth polished off the undead rear guard, and a successful Command spell left the minotaur virtually helpless as the team quickly surrounded it and pounded him bloody, before Elsbeth summoned a spiritual mace composed of magical force to stove in its head. Seeing nothing else of use on the body and the weapons of the skeletons having being immolated on their second deaths, the team crossed the bridge and prepared to travel deeper into the complex…

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Life is a Carnival
And Iseri's just been locked into the Tilt-A-Whirl

Following the successful navigation of the fortress of Raven’s Watch, the heroes of Sandpoint returned home to bandage bruises, polish their gear and trade stories and relax in the company of friends. After a short rest, Zephus again bid the coastal hamlet a fond farewell and rode for Westgate to report back to the Radiant Heart of his findings and receive his next assignment. Meanwhile, the rest of the crew took the time to hone their own skills, Set improving his footwork and gaining further knowledge of the wilds through a week-long sojourn, became able to move much more swiftly to aid in his marksmanship skills and also learned to survive comfortably in harsh environs with little more than the clothes on his back, while also perfecting his ability to hunt creatures that preferred to make their lairs deep in the earth. Nero practiced honing his senses to detect traps and also made use of some good natured drunks at the Rusty Dragon to become better at the art of sneak attacking unwitting foes. Elsbeth, through meditation and study, became more in tune with the power of the Morninglord, gaining a finer understanding of the nature of his magic and allowing the flow of divine energies through her person to occur more naturally which vastly increased her healing capabilities.

A traveling caravan also passed through town at this time, bringing the joys and games usually only found in the big city to a town grateful for a chance to engage in mirth and whimsy, even if only for a day’s time. At this point, Iseri was approached by the caravan’s leader: a particularly verbose gnome in an exquisite crimson cloak. He stated that he was acting as an informal ‘talent scout’ for Caites of the Swift-Fingers, the current leader of a band of thieves known as the Laughing Knives and that a fair sum of cash was promised to those enterprising enough to travel with them to the city of Teziir and make themselves known. Iseri, never being one to turn down a chance for more wealth took the job and also convinced Sumak to come along and provide extra protection. During the 5 day journey, the caravan experienced a slight hiccup and was attacked by wolves. However, Lady Luck seemed to smile on the 2 adventurers as they dispatched the beasts with almost disdainful ease. Arriving in Teziir, the carnival parked itself at the Lucky Drunkard tavern, where after an evening of food, wine and song, Iseri and Sumak were able to meet their new employer. Setting down to a meeting table in a hidden back room inside the tavern, Iseri and Sumak were laid out the parameters for success and payment. A schooner belonging to the Zhentarim mercenary army would be passing through port tonight with a special shipment rumored to be placed under heavy guard by the Cult of the Dragon. Seeking to cause a little mayhem and perhaps delve deeper into the Cult’s latest plots, Caites requested that the ship be boarded and anything of value brought back to him as quickly and quietly as possible. The duo agreed and were given directions to the docks as the late hour approached.

As the team made their way quietly along the docks, they laid eyes on a magnificent black schooner covered in black lacquer and trimmed with gold. 4 Zhentarim guards armored in black full plate and wearing skull shaped helms now stood guard by a single zip line, which allowed the ship to stay out to water in case a quick getaway was needed, with 2 rogues moving artfully back and forth unloading goods. Sumak created a distraction for a pair of the guards by tossing a rancid ham into the water nearby whilst Iseri snuck up from the opposite side. Seeking to find a way to create a further distraction, the paladin then used his flint and steel to light a pile of nearby crates to draw the other guards away, while Iseri used her crossbow to disturb some highly volatile casks of liquor which created a small bomb rendering 2 of the guards senseless for a short period. Making her way up the line, the rogue managed to get to the crow’s nest, where she was pounced on by a hooded figure with a massive schnoz and a poisoned stiletto blade. As the two fenced above, Sumak drew down on the 2 Zhent guardsmen. The battle proved to be vicious, these were no simpleton goblins or common hired thugs and only divine grace and Sumak’s armor and size saved him from being hacked to bits. Iseri bested her attacker and pierced his throat with her shock rapier. Looking down, she could see a Zhent wizard looking about furtively, trying to determine whether to cut the line and flee or stay and finish the job. The rogue happened to notice that the fool had placed himself in front of some very unstable boxes and that with just enough force, he would no longer be a problem. Meanwhile, Sumak had begun to lose more and more ground against the heavily armed Zhent fighters and had attempted to flee into the waters to gain cover. To his shock and dismay, there were no undercrofts in which to hide himself. It appeared as though the docks were crafted from a single piece of solid stone and while the paladin struggled to stay afloat in heavy gear, the mercenaries closed in for the kill. Determining that he should at least take one with him, the mighty half-orc seized one by the legs as they came to the docks edge to pepper him with arrows. It might have been the end at that moment, but for the timely arrival of Caites, who hamstrung one guard while tilting the other into the briny depths. As he helped the drenched paladin onto the dockside he sputtered incredulously “THIS is what you lot call a QUIET job!?!?”

Iseri’s plans had found a snag as well. She hoped to use the natural rhythm of the ship’s movements to aid her in toppling the unsteady crates but timing seemed to go against her at every turn and she was almost left at the mercy of the wizard’s magic. The clamoring of the town guard put an end to their battle as the wizard decided to cut his losses and make his escape. Iseri repaid his magical assault by lighting his cargo aflame and leaping into the water, relishing the song of his curses as she swam for the docks. The group was able to use the town guard’s arrest of the Zhentarim to their advantage: Sumak was tended to by the city patrol while Caites and Iseri made their way back to the tavern. Over a warm cup of cheer the next morning Caites found himself possessed of a good humor, and gave the 2 half of their promised price since they were unable to secure any goods or incriminating evidence, but thoroughly humiliated the spies of the Black Network. As a special reward for Iseri (as well as a possible enticement for future jobs) Caites bestowed the skeleton key of Ramsay Rotjaw. An unusual totem thats tip was shaped in the end of a small, skeletal hand. This tool was enchanted with a Knock spell that could be used twice per day. Very handy in a tight spot. Bidding them farewell, Caites sent the 2 back on their way with a small merchant’s caravan, wishing them well wherever they may go.

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Raven's Watch: The Finale
Sumak arrives at last!

Sumak had finally caught up with the Heroes. As Zephus, Set, Elsbeth, and Nero were resting in the large entrance room to Raven’s Watch, the half-orc paladin stumbled in. The cast had just been taken off his injured foot, but he was ready for action. His first task, however, was mental rather than physical. The party asked him to translate the goblin script on the three northern doors. The northernmost was ‘Storage, and inside the adventurers found a few potions, a scroll, and most importantly to Elsbeth, an entire keg of the Rusty Dragon’s finest ale. After pouring mugs for everyone, the cleric proceeded to drain the rest of the keg herself.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party explored the eastern door, marked ‘Shinies’. After breaking down the door (successfully this time)and dislodging a strange red crystal, Sumak led the party into a large chamber. In this chamber, an array of the crystals studded the walls, floor, and pillars. Three were lit, and four were just empty sockets. The adventurers were looking for a more exciting encounter, though, and decided to leave the crystal chamber for later.

Turning to the western chamber, ‘Barracks’, the party met Bertha, the human guard captain, and her cadre of goblins. After a short but fierce battle in which Set took a throwing axe to the face, the Heroes prevailed. Bertha herself surrendered after her goblins were slaughtered, and provided the part y with some information on Vislak and his operation in exchange for her freedom.

Exploring the areas surrounding the barracks, the party found an armory where several of them added ranged weapons to their repertoire, and Sumak found a spare set of full plate made for Bertha but which fit him well enough. He also found an emerald by digging around in the refuse pile. In the captain’s chambers they found some documents about the facility’s daily activities, as well as some gold.

Finally it had come time to reexamine the crystal chamber, but they were still missing 2 of the crystals. Scouring the cells, they found one buried in a pile of straw. The last long eluded them, as they debated sending some hapless sacrifice into the pit and attempted to futilely remove an enormous boulder blocking a side passage. Eventually Sumak discovered the crystal in an otherwise innocuous cave-in.

At last possessing all of the crystals, the party set their brains to work solving the puzzle of the crystal chamber. Zephus was certain that this must be the place to use the rogue’s cryptic instructions, but struggled to fit his words to the crystals’ layout. The rest of the party focused on the color patterns, eventually discovering that the relationship between primary and secondary colors was the key to the puzzle. They quickly got each crystal to light up except one. This was the crystal that Sumak had inadvertently dislodged, but he solved the problem by standing in the doorway with said crystal.

With all the crystals placed and lighted, a secret chamber opened to the north, revealing a statue and a chest. The chest held a single item, the powerful Ring of Feather Falling, while the statue had a much greater treasure: a great sword of Torm. Zephus humbly accepted the sword and left his own in return.

After solving the crystal chamber, there was nothing more to explore in the Raven’s Watch. The Heroes left with few questions answered and several new ones to ponder. Where was Black Fang, how much more powerful had he become, and when would they encounter him again? How was the Cult of the Dragon planning on using him, and what were their designs for Sandpoint?

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