Carric follows the guardsmen out the door as they escort Garen out, and watches them lead him off towards the barracks. The moon is full, and shining brightly, allowing his elven eyes a clear vision of his immediate surrounds, although the ever-present fog limits the distance he can see. He walks slowly around the inn, keeping a keen eye out for anything suspicious, but sees nothing that causes him any alarm.
Piety exits too, resuming his position in the cold night air. He settles down, waiting for the sun to rouse his flesh and blood companions.
|Revjak of the Elk|
Revjak turns to Kehlann.
"If you'd like, one of us could guard over the box. It might save you more stab wounds."
|Revjak of the Elk|
"Certainly Kehlann. I'm getting irked by these thieves so I'm happy to discourage them roughly!"
Reynwyn listens intently to Kehlann's explanation and nods. "I appreciate you sharing with us what you could, it does not change my desire to aide you still on our journey. It is just good to know what these fools are seeking."
When he listens to the attempted murderer he just shakes his head and scoffs at his audacity. He opens his mouth to speak, but instead closes it and remains silent; everything that needed to be said had already been said.
"Revjak, I will have Jareth stay in the room with you all as well. He does not sleep and can waken you quickly in the event of trouble. What do you say?"
|Revjak of the Elk|
"He is welcome to stick around! Kehlann?"
Kehlann agrees, and with Garen gone and the taproom empty, Spider fixes Kehlann a new room with an unbroken window, and you all say your goodnights and make for bed.
If you can at all help it, please only read the spoiler meant for you :)
The events of the past few days have left you weary, and almost as soon as you climb into bed your eyes fall shut, and you slumber.
You awaken to find yourself hunting, moving swiftly through a shady green forest, bow in hand, arrow ready to draw. You know you have been hunting for some time, and you feel you are drawing near to your prey. You round and tree, and then suddenly your feet are no longer treading earth - you are falling into darkness.
You land with a grunt on a soft pile of leaves and moss, and climb to your feet. You are at the bottom of a deep pit, and the leafy green canopy above you is ony visible through a hole that, from this distance, is only the size of a small coin. You shake your head and look around you.
A huge cavern yawns in every direction, further than the limits of your half-elven vision. The most striking feature within your field of vision are the rope-like strands of webs that stretch out every which way. Cautiously, you lay a hand on a nearby web, and feel it quiver under your touch. With no better ideas coming to mind, you set out following the strand.
After some time, you hear a growl up ahead, then a maniacal cackling that is disturbingly… canine. Recognising the sound of your quarry, you press on faster. The strand of web enters a tunnel, twisting around corners as it delves deeper into the earth. You round another corner and find yourself face to face with Garen, the treacherous messenger. He gives a brief, hyena-like laugh, then rips his face off and throws it at you before fleeing down the tunnel. You give chase immediately, but it becomes apparent that he knows the twists and turns, and he outpaces you. You soon slow, conserving your strength, following the web.
Minutes later, you hear the cackle again, and run down the tunnel, only to find yourself facing a bald, tattooed, and heavily muscled warrior, who similarly rips his face from his skull and flees from you. Again you fail to keep up.
This pattern repeats itself - you hear your prey, only to find a different foe who rips their face off and throws it at you. Next is some kind of hellish fiend, then an undead knight, then, finally, the foe you seek - the Albino Flind.
You do not even get a chance to draw your arrow back. Again, your enemy tears its face off, but this time it doesn't flee. Underneath the huge gnoll's face is an obsidian mask, spiked and unlovely, with glowing purple eyes. The form before you blurs, then becomes that of a woman wrapped in shadow, the horrible mask blurring into a beautiful dark face, still with those purple eyes. She laughs in a low, sultry voice, mocking you, and such is her power that your bow falls from nerveless fingers, and she begins to walk towards you, arms outstretched, offering you wonderful oblivion.
But half way to you, she stops in her tracks, purple glowing eyes widening in shock. She grips her own head, and begins shrieking. The sound is horrible, and powerful, and the sound of it begins to tear your body, mind, and soul apart. Clinging to yourself, you watch the woman's form shift and blur again, and it seems to almost split into two forms, two women wrapped in shadow, one overlaying the other, the first with that unearthly purple glow, the second a pure pale white beneath the shadow. The wavering, and the screaming, reach fever pitch, and you feel yourself begin rent from the inside out…
You awaken with a gasp, back in your bed in the Sleeping Dragon Inn, the others also beginning to stir, and the pale glow of the dawn creeping beneath the curtain.
You say goodnight to your companions and retire to bed, and, tired from the long days of travel and the fight with the assassin, you quickly begin to drift into the semi-conscious dreaming that serves to reinvigorate elves.
You spend some time wandering through the forests of your youth, and the scene is as vivid as waking life - you can smell the sweet scents of flowers and the musty rotting of earth and hear droplets falling from leaves onto ground. You meander pleasantly through the woodlands, enjoying the serenity.
You round a tree, and the landscape has instantly changed. Rather than the lush forest you wandered through moments ago, the land before you is grey and barren, bare hills stretching before you. Not far away, however, you see what seems to be a pool of water amid the desolate landscape. You approach it warily, curious as to what this could all mean.
The pool is a deep, dead black - or is it bright silver? You are not sure. From moment to moment, it could be either, or both at once. You kneel down beside it, noticing that it gives no reflection of the land or sky around it. It seems to be perfectly still and flat. Again, your curiosity gets the better of you, and you stretch out a hand and give the water a little swish.
The water feels tepid to your fingers, neither hot nor cold. As the ripples swirl across the surface, you start to discern shapes, even colours. An image slowly begins to present itself to you in the water.
It is Revjak. The young warrior stands, arms outstretched to either side, his face screwed up in pain. His right arm is engulfed in a serene blue light, while his left is covered with dark smoke, lit by sparks and flames. It appears the two forces are tugging at him. You hesitate, unsure of what to do, and the cloud of fire and brimstone suddenly spreads across him, from his right hand all over his body, destroying the blue light, and as Revjak disappears from your view you hear screaming, the rending of flesh, and a deep, evil laugh.
The scene shifts quickly, to show Reynwyn, wandering down the streets of a grey, empty city. He seems to be searching for something, calling out, though you can't hear what he says. He wanders off into the darkness, alone, and you know that he is lost.
Next you see Piety, plodding along a plain, overgrown path. People seem to appear out of nowhere, approaching him, their expressions friendly, but he simply raises his wooden and metal hand and pushes them by the face, away from him. Then the path splits before him, one sweeping up and away to the left, the other right, down into fog and darkness. Unhesitatingly, he follows the path to the right, and sinks down into the mist and out of sight.
Finally, you see Arthur, although he is not alone. He sits at table, maybe in a tavern, or a homely kitchen, talking to someone. It is Dieredon, the Harper ally you knew in Silverymoon, and they sit talking amiably. Yet, as they talk, a purple mist seeps in around them, and as it touches them their flesh begins to crack and peel, falling from their bones. Again, you don't know what to do, and n seconds, two bare skeletons sit at the table, and then the bones fall to the floor.
You fall into the pool, and darkness… only to blink, and find yourself back on your bed at the Sleeping Dragon Inn, the light of dawn peeking through the curtains.
Though you are aware of it, you feel nothing from the cold as you stand under the light of the moon, which even these savages recall as Selune. The hours pass slowly, which you track by the movement of the moon and stars across the night sky.
Some time after midnight you are contemplating the strange sensation you felt in your hands immediately after they were submerged in the strange green water of the summoning pool. A number of possible explanations come to mind, most of them bad, but as you consider these your mind is assaulted by a brief but vivid series of visions.
Arthur, sitting at a table playing cards with other men and women, while black-bladed daggers, their hilts wrapped in purple, dance above all their heads, poised to strike…
Carric, holding his bow in his left hand, while in his right he holds a set of scales, balanced by what looks like a number of small figurines on each side. His hand begins to shake, and the scales look in danger of tipping, even falling…
Revjak, striding through a snowy blizzard, swinging his glaive, which is glowing blue, at unseen foes. Behind his lurks a darkness that advances towards him…
Reynwyn, who seems aware of your presence and beckons you to follow him, leading you through a gate of shadow…
Finally, you see yourself, standing alone in a cold and empty room. Empty, that is, but for the shining body of light that burns in front of you. You feel its warmth, its power, it beckons you… and you go to it. As it begins to envelope it, however, it begins to turn dark and cold, liquid rather than light. The wet blackness covers you, blotting out everything, and as you struggle to free yourself you feel a sensation, one that you have almost forgotten it has been so long: you feel the overwhelming urge to breathe. Gagging, straining, your lungs are about to burst from the lack of oxygen, and your consciousness begins to fade….
With a blink, you are back in your body, standing motionless outside the Sleeping Dragon Inn. The sun peeks over the horizon. The visions, though they seemed to last for mere minutes, have occupied your consciousness for hours. You look around, and all seems well. The front door bangs open, and you see the proprietor, Spider, heading outside with a basket.
You go to bed with the lockbox in your arms. The warm embrace of sleep comes quickly after the long ride and the excitement of the evening.
Some time during your slumber, you awaken, but not in the bed you lay down in. You find yourself standing in the middle of an empty city street; a cold wind blowing scraps of refuse along the cobblestones, and you can smell the salt of the sea on the breeze. In one direction, a great stone castle rises above the two- or three-storey buildings around you, and behind the castle an even larger mountain, its peak shrouded in cloud. The moon and stars shine bright and cold.
Unsure of yourself, you hold your weapon in a guard position, trying to open your senses and detect any possible threats around you. As you do, the blade of your glaive begins to glow gently, a cool, pulsationg blue. The glow increases in intensity, and the blade begins to change shape, becoming more of a long, spiked axe head than a blade. The haft of your weapon begins to emanate a warm heat.
The axe head then swings around to face the castle, and you feel the urge to walk towards it. However, as you make your first step, you hear a distant screaming off to your right. Your head snaps in that direction - north - and in the sky above the rooftops a vision appears. You see your father, blood running down the side of his grim face, hefting his axe in both hands, preparing himself for deadly battle. You see your mother, weeping, huddled over a motionless body; it is your younger sister, her blond hair matted with blood. You see smoke gathering in the sky, so much smoke, and then flame at its heart. You hear the ring of steel on steel, the screams of the dying… and the roar of a beast.
The axe continues to pull you toward the castle, but you set your feet, resisting its tug, your eyes staring northward. You can almost hear its voice in your head - This way! We must! - and for long moments you and your weapon are poised thus. Finally, with a great roar, and a surge of mental effort, you drag the weapon in to your side, and turn your body north.
The weapon quietens, and sits in your grasp, not as servant, but as partner, and you feel that some agreement has been made, on both sides. You begin to stride northwards, but without even looking at it you can feel, see, the great castle at the foot of the mountain, waiting for you. A snowy blizzard rolls over you, obscuring your vision, and you sink back gently into slumber. The last sensations you have before the dream ends are the heat of the weapon in your hands, and its soft azure glow illuminating the snow around you.
You raise your head from your pillow, hearing Kehlann stir as well. From the pale light glowing behind the curtain, you can tell it is just dawn.
So you have a sister. Hope you don't mind!
You climb gratefully into your bed; its covers are thick, and the mattress comfortable. Even aware of Jareth in the next room, watching over Kehlann and Revjak, you fall asleep quickly, and deeply.
Next thing you know, you are walking through a city. It is a cool, overcast day, and a fresh coastal breeze is blowing. The streets are full of people, all of them busy about one task or another, a sea of people washing around you. You see to your left a great white stone castle rearing above the rooftops, gleaming in the light of day, shining so brightly it almost dazzles you, a huge mountain rearing up behind it. Your eyes drop back to the street, and your eyes find comfort in the shadows of the alleys and side streets around you.
It doesn't take very long for you to realise that the shadows themselves are… alive - breathing. In many places, they are tinged with just a hint of dark purple, almost like a tinted fog. As you look, you see that the shadows are beginning to push their way, ever so slowly, into the light of the street. No one else seems to notice, but the shadows continue to advance at an increasing rate, slowly washing over the whole street. Your breath catches in your throat as you realise you will fall under the shadow shortly too. You stop in your tracks, and unconsciously your left hand moves to the ring on your right finger, caressing it softly. As you do this, another shadow begins to emerge, this time from you.
While shadows are shadows, the soft darkness that begins to wrap around you is different from that invading, now dominating, the city streets; it is purer, colder. Very quickly it envelopes you completely, and you can see nothing for a long moment. Then it… unravels from around you, and you find yourself standing in an altogether different street.
This is a street devoid of all colour; it is composed entirely of whites, blacks, and greys. It is also empty, and cold, and though it is definitely uninviting, you feel a sense of… belonging. Then the raven crows above your head.
Looking up, you see Jareth perched on the eave of a building, its face in profile as it stares down at you with one eye. Then, in a rush of feathers, it flies at your face. You flinch a little, but Jareth pulls aside at the last moment, and flies down the street. You begin to follow it through the empty city, and it continues to fly off a little distance before perching and waiting for you, only to fly off again as you approach.
After some time walking through the cold, empty, eerie streets, you see up ahead another castle in the distance, this one made, it seems, entirely of shadow. However, even though you pick up the pace, no matter how far or long you walk, it doesn't seem to get any closer. After what must be hours, days even, you begin to slow down. What is wrong? Why can't I get there? you think, and almost immediately, a door opens to your left. Jareth flies through it before you can even react. You move closer to the door, and see that it doesn't lead into a building, but back onto the street of the city you were walking down before. But between you and the city, and its shining white castle, you see an image fade into being - that of a black mask, its eyes glowing purple, blocking the way between the two cities.
Then without warning, the mask begins to crack, purple light leaking out of the cracks. Before to long, it has dissolved into shadow - a shadow that stretches out between the two cities. As the purple glow fades, and the shadow reaches out the door, a great wind arises, as if the doorway is sucking air through it into the bright city. The shadow around you begins to flow into the doorway, leeching out of the street and walls around you. You feel the irresistable tug yourself, and before you know it you, too, are sucked through the doorway, along with the shadow-stuff around you. Light fails, and you sink back into unconsciousness once more.
You open your eyes to find yourself in bed, the light of dawn beginning to suffuse the room.
Arthur tries not to dwell on the disturbing nightmares too much but as he goes through his morning routine he occasionally can't help but reflect on it. It might just be a normal dream but if it was more ominous than that, what did it mean.
He sought to distract himself further and went to find Piety.
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Reynwyn sits up and rubs his hands over his face a few times to clear his thoughts. 'Such an odd dream. Much like the cryptic dreams the Raven Queen used to send, but different. What does it mean?' Frustrated by his inability to decipher his dream, Reynwyn reaches down into his backpack to remove his own journal to make some annotations while the memory was still fresh when he notices something odd... His fingers brush against uncle Jareth's journal and it feels bitterly cold to the touch. He pulls out what he assumed was uncle Jareth's journal, but what emerges from his backpack is a black, leather tome with silver gilding and a metal clasp in the shape of a raven. A strange black, wispy mist leaks out from the pages to quickly dissipate into nothingness looking very much like... shadows...
Reynwyn immediately looks around the room to see if anything appeared out of place and he sets the book down to rush over to the door, which was still locked. He frowns and he goes back over to sit on the bed, staring at the strange book. He picks up it, opens it, and with a gasp he realizes quickly it was still his uncle's journal, but it was.... different! He found several pages that had not been there before, giving him instructions on how to cast several more cantrips than he'd known before! And the next several pages appeared to be arcane rituals to spells... he suddenly laughs aloud as he recognizes the rituals. He understood the true nature behind Jareth's journal now, it was so much more than just an outline of his journey and discoveries! This book of shadows is where he inscribed some of his abilities and powers, but to unlock more of it would require more research and time. Time was one thing he did not have much of at the moment as he had a job to do. Once in Waterdeep he would be able to devote more of it to his research, but for now... He smiles again as he flips closed the book and slips it back into the pack.
A few moments later he headed down into the main room for some breakfast and to meet up with the others. Once below he calls out to Spider. "Spider, my good man, I could do with some a hot breakfast. I suspect the next two days will be full of trail rations."
Well, that was different. thought Piety as he "awoke" from his vision. I would have thought that my current state would make me immune to dreaming, but then again I presumably still have a mortal mind, and minds are the vehicles of dreams, so it's not outside the realm of possibility.
When the proprietor comes outside, Piety will nod to him.
After breakfast Arthur goes outside to see Piety where the man seemed to spend most of his time. "Piety, I had been meaning to ask you. It's probably a personal question but I've yet to see you outside your armour? Thats your business but I assume you're not a member of one of the races common to this region, is there anything odd I should know if we'll be traveling together. I know as much as some races have immunities and resistances some are vulnerable to certain things."
Spider fixes you all breakfast, a full meal of sausages, eggs, potatoes, and crusty bread, topped off with a mug of pale beer each. The sun rises brightly, burning off some of the ever-present fog from the nearby marshlands. As you near departure time, two guardsmen arrive driving a small, barred wagon that holds Garen. He smiles humourlessly from his mobile cell and waves his bound hands at you.
Continue your RPing until you're ready, then we'll leave for the big smoke :)
Carric stares at Garren as he travels out of town with a smirk. He had never experienced such vivid and disturbing dreams before. He cannot help but wonder if the two are somehow connected. He enjoyed his breakfast with the others as he prepares for the road.
|Revjak of the Elk|
Revjak returns to consciousness, finding his hands gripping the lockbox hard.
But it wasn't the lockbox that I was grasping, was it? That was a vision!
He lopes downstairs, lockbox still in hand, though in a less tight grip now.
He sits, placing the lockbox on the seat next to him, barely noticing Arthur finally asking Piety about his nature, or the food and beer in front of him. It is as if a dark cloud hangs over Revjak's head, though the smell of breakfast does breach his melancholy and he begins to tuck in. If with less gusto than is customary for him.
He then turns his head, looking around those at the table, as if seeing them for the first time, and finally speaks.
"Do any of you know of a castle in a city, with a mountain behind it? I have seen it in a vision."
Piety's bedside manner reminds me of some doctors I've encountered :) So keep RPing in Rassalanter if you want to, but I'm too impatient to get to Waterdeep, so I'm going to forge on with a rather large amount of posting. This is officially the end of the prologue...
The party sets off sometime around 7.30, not as early as planned, but the breakfast was too good to rush. The increase in caravan members gives a feeling of added security; it now consists of Kehlann and his manservant Sillon, Lavina, Borric, and Gregin (who have been rather absent from my descriptions, sorry), all of you (including Signey), and the two guardsmen and Garen, although the presence of the messenger cum assassin doesn't really reassure anyone. The day is bright, if cool, so despite your late start you make good time for the first day, covering almost half the distance to Waterdeep by Kehlann's reckoning.
As you all make camp that night, the atmosphere is somewhat tense; after the attacks and interruptions throughout the journey so far, you are almost expecting further trouble on a daily basis. The evening passes without incident, however, and when dawn breaks the get on the road swiftly.
Garen has been quiet in his barred wagon, and on the second day Kehlann takes a turn on a horse, riding beside the prisoner and conversing with him quietly. After one such discussion, Kehlann rides back to take his place on the front wagon, a look of satisfaction on his face. To any who care to look, Garen looks rather morose, quite the contrast from his smug demeanour of the previous day.
You see Waterdeep miles before you reach it. Your first view is from ten miles away; you crest a ridge to see Mount Waterdeep pushing skywards in the distance, the battlements of Castle Waterdeep at its foot, with the whole city spread across a huge plateau that slopes down from the north to the south, almost entirely bordered by sheer cliffs. A gently rolling plain lies between you and the city, dotted with farms and small woods, and beyond the city is a grey blur that you realise must be the Sea of Swords.
CHAPTER ONE - The Shadows Gather
6pm, 20th of Eleint, 335 NR (1367 DR)
The rest of the journey seems to fly by, now that your destination is in sight. Before you know it, you stand before the North Gate, a huge barbican that guards the outer wall of the city. The guards know Kehlann, and enquire after his stock manifest, which he duly provides. Ten minutes later, after the guards have inspected the wagons and Kehlann has signed documents, the caravan rumbles on. After climbing several hundred yards up a steep hill, you reach a smaller gatehouse that breaches the Trollwall; the caravan passes through as Kehlann exchanges friendly nods with the guards. Then, you are within the Waterdeep, the City of Splendors.
Entry through the North Gate offers a breathtaking view. Before you, the city slopes down gently a couple of miles to the foot of Mount Waterdeep, and it seems that every building you can see is either an impressive civic building, part of a manor, or an exquisite townhouse (here's a pic of the street, and the view down a side street). Kehlann points out to the first-timers among you that to your left (east) is the North Ward, and to your right (west) is the Sea Ward, both the home of many noble families and important Waterdhavian folk. You are currently travelling south along the High Road - see the map - you enter the gate at the top of square 1P.
After five or six blocks, the better part of a mile, the caravan turns left off the High Road, on to a wide boulevard that a well-maintained sign proclaims to be Sulmor Street (Again see the map - you have turned into square 2C). The guardsmen wave to Kehlann and continue on down the High Road with Garen in the wagon. The beautiful street seems to be full of noble villas, each with a distinctive personality, and after a few blocks the wagons pull into a side street to the south, and turn almost immediately into a side entrance to the villa on the corner. Kehlann turns to you all. "Welcome to my familial home, friends!" He steps down from the front wagon. "I go to see my aged father, but Sillon here will take care of you. It's been a tough journey, and I've instructed him that you are all to be paid a significant bonus. Thank you again for ensuring our safety, and that of my cargo. If you wish to be offered further employment, let Sillon know how you may be contacted. Well met!" With that, he enters the side gate on foot and strides across the grounds towards the main manor house.
Sillon gives orders to a number of servants who come forward to take care of the horses and wagons, then turns to you all, including Borric, Lavina, Gregin, and Arthur. He leads you all to a small building next to the stables and warehouse, which turns out to be an office. There is only one seat behind the large desk, and he sits in it. "Now the original terms of your employment entitled you to 20 gold pieces each. But Lord Kehlann has instructed me that due to your valorous efforts, you are all to be awarded 50 taols each. For those of you new to the city, these are local tokens worth 2 gold pieces each. I need not point out that this is an extremely generous bonus." He turns to Arthur. "You made no agreement with Lord Kehlann, but he insists that I pay you 30 taols for your unasked for assistance along the way. Also," he says, his business-like exterior cracking for a moment with a small smile, "you tell some very entertaining tall tales." He then goes about the process of paying you all, beginning with Borric, Lavina, and Gregin who give the Warm Beds Inn in Dock Ward as their current address. They make swift goodbyes, inviting you all to leave a message with the proprietor if you wish to contact them.
After the other hirelings have left, Sillon clears his throat. "Lord Kehlann has, in fact, asked me to invite the seven of you (including Signey) inside for a quick supper, and a business discussion, if you are so inclined." He finishes up paying you all, then says, "Come this way, if you please. Otherwise, the servants will show you out."
Everyone add 20 gp and 50 taols to your wealth (but Arthur - 30 taols for you) . Do you wish to hear what Lord Kehlann has to say? Or even just some free food?
|Revjak of the Elk|
When Revjak sees the city properly, understanding dawns in his eyes.
"That mountain! What is it? What lies there?"
"My thanks to you and to Lord Kehlann. It was a pleasure to safeguard him and the caravan, and I would certainly take supper with him."
Going to assume Reynwyn and Carric are also up for a feed and a chat...
Sillon nods, and leads you all out of the building and across the courtyard to the large manor house (though of course, through a servants' door). After wending through a warren of small rooms and corridors, you head up a staircase and into a wide hallway. Sillon leads you to a set of double doors, opens them wide before you, and gestures for you to enter. "Lord Kehlann awaits inside. I'll return with food and drink soon." He bows briefly and heads back down the stairs.
Kehlann is seated inside at a large table, reading a sheaf of papers. As you enter, he looks up and sets them aside. "Come, join me, friends." He continues as you all make yourselves comfortable. "Thank you all once again for your endeavours throughout the journey. You have all proven yourselves extremely talented and useful. For that reason, I have a business proposition for you, if you are interested."
At this point, Sillon and two other servants bring in a tray of drinks and two trays of various foods.They place them on the table in front of you, and you notice that Sillon has prepared, for each of you, your favourite drink. The food is varied and tasty, although perhaps not a full meal, particularly by Revjak's standards.
Kehlann nibbles on a savoury pastry, then goes on. "Yes, a business proposition. Essentially, I'm keen to keep you all on as retainers, although in a fairly loose sense. What I'm proposing is that I pay for your lodging and basic board, and if I have need of you, you do your best to take on the work I require, which you will also be paid for. As a rule, such work would not take you outside the city limits, nor would it be for an extended period of time. It would, however, sometimes be considered dangerous by most people, and paid accordingly. You would be free to work for yourselves, or anyone else, at any time you like, and you could also end this agreement at any time you choose. Well, what are your thoughts? Interested?"
|Revjak of the Elk|
"A light supper but very tasty! My thanks, Kehlann.", Revjak says as he tucks in. "And as for your offer, I accept. You have treated with us fairly and I am happy to work with you again. Danger doesn't bother me, as you may have realised.", he adds with a wolfish grin.
"As long as it is an expectation not an obligation I find it an interesting notion. Seeing as the employment is not exclusive I think it reasonable to inform you when we are leaving the city with an estimate of how long we'll be gone. I think we worked well together and could do some good sticking together."
"Excellent!" Kehlann beams. "Fear not, this is largely an informal arrangement, and the free lodging is, in part, a way to thank you again for your work on the journey. Well, you probably want to get yourselves settled, so I'll have a man drive you to your aforementioned new lodgings. You'll be staying in what's known as the Adventurers' Quarter of the South Ward, at Madame Garah's boarding house. She's a lovely soul, and I'm sure she'll look after you well. Try not to bust up the place," he smiles. "I also have a good friend who performs nightly at the Safehaven Inn, just near your boarding house. He'll be expecting a visit from you tonight or tomorrow night at the inn, and will be happy to show you around if you'd like. He also lives just a door or two down from Madam Garah's. His name is Arkiem Arren; he's a very friendly half-elf, only a year in Waterdeep himself."
Kehlann lets you stay for a bit longer, but suggests after a little while that you head down to the Adventurers' Quarter before it gets too late.
Happy to head to Madame Garah's? Or did you want to do other things?
Oh, and the map of Waterdeep is now at the top of the page. The Adventurers' Quarter is in map square 3Y, in fact directly under the letters '3Y', and I have a map of that area ready to go once you've explored it a bit. EDIT: AQ Map is under the 'Maps' spoiler on the Campaign Info page already if y'all want a look at it :)
|Revjak of the Elk|
Revjak raises his glass and downs a big gulp.
"I shall do my best not to smash the place, but I will make no such promises for intruders!", Revjak guffaws.
Reynwyn enjoys the company and the dinner, savoring the good food and safety after so many weeks on the open road. He listens intently to Kehlann's proposition and spends several moments mulling it over before he speaks. It was intriguing to say the least, but initially he worried that it may keep him from his ability to research and follow the leads from his uncle's journal, but then the realization that he had no steady income nor lodging kickstarted his better senses. "I think that such an arrangement would be quite beneficial to all involved parties, milord. I concur with my companions, I will be your man, sir." He joins the others in raising his glass in honor of their patron.
Reynwyn chuckles lightly at Revjak's enthusiasm. "A noble endeavor if there ever was one, Revjak!"
Reynwyn is ready to head out whenever the rest of you guys are!
Kehlann wishes you adieu, and bids his man to drive you south to the Adventurers' Quarter. A half an hour later, you find yourselves on Slop Street, in a much less affluent area of the city. You alight from the Majarra carriage with your bags out front of an unassuming two-storey wattle and daub structure, tightly packed in to the row of buildings (AQ3 on the Adventurers' Quarter map on the campaign tab). The driver leans down and says, "That's Madame Garah's there. No sign, it's not for just anybody." Then he gives you a wave, and pulls the horses around in a wide circle, leading them back north whence you came.
A knock on the door is swiftly answered by a short middle-aged matron, her greying hair bound up in a bun at the back of her head. Her kindly face crinkles in a smile as she takes in the sight of you. "Well met, travellers. You must be the lot the Majarra lad was telling me about, is that right?"
"Your deductions are correct." Arthur offers a warm smile and a little bow at the reception. "I don't think we've decided how long our current stay will be but when we're departing you'll be informed."
"It's been a little while since I've been in Waterdeep. Would you mind catching me up on any news or events so I don't seem like I trundled in with the harvest wagons."
|Revjak of the Elk|
"Hail Madame Garah! I have never been here before. Does the mountain yonder have any tale?"
"Well, let's get you all inside and settled then, shall we? It's near on three hours after dark - this old body needs to rest soon. Come in and get your rooms sorted out, then we'll have a cup of tea and a chat, if you like." At this point, she notices Piety lurking behind Arthur and Revjak, and her eyebrows climb towards her hairline. "Well, would you look at that!" she exclaims softly, before shaking her head and giving a warm smile. "Well, come in, come in!"
No nonsense, Madame Garah leads you all inside, moving with a fluid grace that belies her stout figure. Immediately inside is an entryway with a number of exits, one of which is a staircase to the second floor. Madame Garah takes you upstairs, which consists of an L-shaped corridor with dormitories on either side, most of which are free. She offers you three rooms; Carric and and Revjak claim one, another is offered to the half-elves, and Signey gets a small bedroom to herself. "You look like you mightn't need a bed, exactly," she says to Piety. "There's an unused office at the end of the hall if you want somewhere to claim your own, will that do?"
Once your bags are set down, she takes you back downstairs and into a pleasant common room, where a fire burns merrily in the hearth. "Sit down, now. Here are your keys, and I'll go get the kettle and tea." Once the kettle is over the fire, she sits down with you all, her green eyes twinkling in the warm firelight. "So, new to Waterdeep, most of you? But not you, Silvertongue," she says to Arthur; the moniker is most definitely capitalised, and has the ring of a nickname bestowed. "Well, there are a hundred and one stories I could tell you about Mount Waterdeep, not least of which would be nine years ago when Cyric and Mystra ascended to godhood upon it. But if you want to hear those tales, we might need to start earlier in the evening."
In addition to giving you a quick rundown on the neighbourhood (see the Adventurers' Quarter map, now also at the top of the page), Madame Garah gives you all an overview of what's been going on in Waterdeep for the past month or so: the tale of the wraith of a long-dead traitor set loose upon the city by a priest of Cyric (since escaped) that was put to rest by none other than the Open Lord of Waterdeep, Piergeiron Paladinson himself, with assistance from Vhonna Deepdell, co-owner of the Safehaven Inn just around the corner; the encapsulation of Kolat Tower, home of the wizard brothers Kolat and also mere doors away, by some strange magical field for over two tendays; the arrival last month of the ambassador from the Moonshae Isles; and a host of other minor yet fantastic happenings throughout the city. Nothing sits still for long in Waterdeep, it seems.
Madame Garah, although you've all introduced yourselves, seems to eschew people's actual names, and throughout the course of the conversation gives you all nicknames that she apparently intends to continue to call you by. Arthur is of course 'Silvertongue', but Revjak is now 'Muscles', Piety 'Clank', Reynwyn 'Shadow', and Carric 'Hunter'. She does seem quite tired though, and after her cup of tea is done, bids you good night, noting that breakfast is a seven o'clock if you want it. She then retires upstairs.
So, off to bed, or keen to check out the nightlife in the neighbourhood? It's probably getting on to near ten o'clock by now, but Waterdeep is the New York of the Savage North, so there is still plenty going on at just about all hours.
"I lack the need for physical concerns, but thank you for your offer."
Piety will, however, take up vigil outside to insure that no one bothers the woman's home/business.
|Revjak of the Elk|
"We have somewhere to rest our heads after we meet Arkiem Arren!"
|Revjak of the Elk|
Revjak is keen to meet Arren, in case I wasn't clear.
Okay, I think on pbps we call two votes a majority :) Off to the Safehaven Inn it is. Look on the AQ map to follow the description below - you're going from AQ3 to AQ14. Remember, on the map north is to the left, west is up... Sorry about that :/
Before Madame Garah heads up to bed, she tells you the way to the Safehaven Inn; just turn right out of the front door and follow Slop St past Hemmerems' Stables, and it's a couple more doors down on the right, you can't miss it. You all gear up to head out, except Signey, who pleads a day full of business on the morrow and an early start.
Sure enough, twenty seconds down the street you find the inn, a new three-storey stone and timber structure, one of the tallest large buildings in this part of the city. Above the heavy ash-wood double doors, golden letters are set into the stones of the arch, proclaiming the inn "The Safehaven". Large wooden plank signs swing in the breezes at the inn's second storey, their faces carved with runes.
You open the doors and step inside, out of the cooling night air. Inside, the entryway has two stairways leading up to an open balcony overlooking the taproom. A halfling-sized desk is set by the left stairwell for guests to be checked in and other taproom patrons to be tended. The large buildings main floor is surrounded on the north (right-hand) side with a massive oak bar and barstools, the wall behind dominated by three large tuns of beer and smaller casks of wine. The floor contains fifteen round tables (seating for six at each) amply dispersed around the room, and four large support pillars hold up the third floor, smaller booths lining the walls and supporting the balcony. The fireplace hearth in the western wall is huge, and its six-foot depth opens through to the kitchen; food is cooked over the same fire, and the delicious odours of the kitchen permeate the taproom.
Despite the reasonably late hour, the taproom is doing a bustling trade - there must be near on a hundred patrons jammed into the place. Nobles in silk and velvet brush shoulders with dock workers; halflings stand on stools at the bar laughing with sagacious-looking old men; and pretty and handsome mix with rough and homely. Behind the bar, a good-looking young man with shoulder length blonde hair, barrel chest, and huge arms tends to the beer taps, while a pair of young beauties run trays of drinks around the taproom, and a young dark-haired lad clears empties. Near the door, a half-orc in a watch uniform sits hunched over a leg of lamb by himself. An older man with a scruffy grey beard, an eyepatch over his right eye, and a peg leg in place of his lower right leg sits, tankard in hand, surrounded by eight or nine people of various ages and dispositions as he animatedly tells some tale of high adventure. In the far corner, sitting on a small riser, a blond, bronze-skinned half-elf, his pointed ears poking through his long curly hair, sits tuning a lute, a young redheaded woman chatting to him while he does. And these are only some of the interesting characters that seem to favour this inn.
Before you can take three steps, a strange figure appears out of nowhere in front of you. A short, white-haired, mutton-chopped, pale-skinned, pink-eyed halfling slides out from somewhere, halfway through a low bow before he comes to a proper halt. Dressed impeccably in browns and yellows, he straightens, favouring you all with a practised smile. "Good evening, sirs and... golem. Welcome to the Safehaven, and well met! My name is Watcher, and I'll be your host for this evening. Were you after a room? No? Well," and he motions to the halfling-sized desk to one side, "please sign our guestbook anyhow. If it's food you're after, get in quick, the cook won't be cooking much longer. The good news is, the taps are open for hours yet, the music is delightful, and there's plenty of good cheer to be had! Now, what's your pleasure, fine people?"
|Revjak of the Elk|
Revjak looks upon one of the signs with engraved dwarven runes - and smiles.
"Safe Refuge, eh? I'll drink to that!", he chuckles.
Once inside, and having heard Watcher's speech, he replies with a smile:
"Good evening, Watcher! I'll go for food and ale, but I would know if one Arkiem Arren is about this night. A half-elf."
Piety chuckles when he sees the door. "Good to see that someone can still do the basics." he mutters, mostly to himself.
When the Halfling appears and gives his spiel, Piety waits for him to finish then says "Greetings to you, half-man. I do not require sustenance. I am just here to insure that no one threatens my traveling companions."
Arthur listens to the bustling busy in, it had been a while since he was in one so busy but now they were in Waterdeep it wouldn't be too uncommon at all.
"Indeed he is," Watcher says to Revjak. "He is on a short break, but otherwise provides the nightly musical entertainment for our establishment." Watcher motions with his head in the direction of the blond half-elf tuning his lute in the far left-hand corner of the room. "Do you have business with our fair bard? In any case, why don't you find yourselves a booth, and I'll have food and drinks sent across." He takes your orders down with a pencil in his notepad, then heads off to the bar to organise your refreshments.
Those who want to sit in a booth near Arkiem can do so. If you want to do something else, go for it. The first descriptive post of the inn gives you some options.
|Revjak of the Elk|
"Aye, that will do nicely!"
Revjak turns to his companions:
"Once this business with Arren is done, we can enjoy ourselves aplenty here!"
The drinks and food come, served by the raven-haired serving girl, and you all tuck in with gusto. The fare is delectable; roasted poultry with a sweet yet spicy coating, a plate of roasted vegetables of all kinds, and boiled greens with a variety of dipping sauces. Add in your drinks, and the booth's table is almost overflowing with deliciousness.
The half-elf sees you all as he puts his lute down, and the red-haired woman next to him, who you can now see is both beautiful and graceful, nods towards you all. The half-elf nods, takes her arm, and approaches you all.
"Hail, friends," he greets you with an easy smile. "From the descriptions Kehlann gave me, I believe you must be his talented guards - you stand out, even in a crowd as eclectic as this one! Well met - my name is Arkiem, and this is my wife Rachel. You have just arrived tonight, no? How are you finding the City of Splendors so far?"
Carric Amastacia, late of the Silvered Knights. A pleasure to meet you. We are all new to this large city, I believe. I was hoping you may be able to show us around the quarter, at least.
Arkiem smiles at Carric. "But of course! I have a few lessons to conduct in the morning, but my afternoon is yours. In fact, why don't you come up to our place for lunch, just after midday. We're at the House of Good Cheer; our home is also a temple to Milil and Lliira, and Rachel and I teach our respective arts from there as well. The second floor..." And he gives you directions to their abode, just two doors up from Madame Garah's (AQ2 on the neighbourhood map).
Arkiem then begs off, and heads to the small stage to begin his next set. Rachel, however, stays to chat. "So," she begins, talking to Carric, "a Silvered Knight of Silverymoon? What brings you to Waterdeep?"
|Revjak of the Elk|
In response to Arkiem:
"I am Revjak, of the Tribe of the Elk. And so far, so good.", he smiles. "A lunch with you tomorrow sounds a fine thing!"
He sups his ale for a short time while while Rachel quizzes Carric.
Reynwyn stands and offer a slight bow as introductions are made. "A pleasure to meet you both. I am Reynwyn of Daggerford. I concur with Revjak's opinion of meal plans." He takes a seat and tries to catch the eye of the raven-haired maiden the next time she passes by their table. "A round of brandy for the table, please, my dear." He winks and smiles at the young woman, making a note of the coloring of her hair.
That, my lady, is a long story. Let us just say that rather than continue in my father's footsteps, a certain Harper friend brought my wanderlust to the surface. My hunting skills were fine-tuned as I became a part of something with these companions you see here now.