Adventurer's Beware

19 Nightal (The Drawing Down) – News from a Friend

Early in the morning, Rhogar approached the group to inform them that he was requested by Catti-brie to escort her back to Luskan. She was using magic and he would need to leave in the next hour. The paladin seemed excited to provide the service and gain further favor with the dwarves. He assured that he would return before winter ended and wished them well. Somewhat surprised, the group agreed that it would be acceptable since they intended to stay for the winter. Each wished Rhogar a speedy journey and the paladin handed the bag of holding with the party funds and the decanter of endless water to Tamnai. Rhogar held the sending stone in his hand and announced that they could still speak if needed. The group joked at the paladin’s excitement once he departed as they finished breakfast.

Later that evening during their evening meal, a dwarven messenger arrived and asked for Carden. The rogue raised his hand and the messenger handed him a sealed scroll tube. After receiving a tip for his services from the reluctant rogue, the messenger left. Carden eyed the scroll and broke the seal as the party watched him carefully.

His eyes rolled as he read from the scroll to reveal that the message was from Pavril. She had learned that the group was in Gauntylgrym from Bazain and Thirbar in Port Llast. They were leading the dwarven rebuilding assistance there. The message solicited the party, with King Bruenor’s approval, to end the giant menace along the Sword Coast. Pavril admits that she has an ally that knows the location of Annam’s Temple where an oracle resides that can provide answers on how to end the current giant rampage and remove this scourge from the peoples of the Sword Coast.

After a discussion, the group decided to return to Port Llast to hear her out and get some fresh air. If true, they could end the menace and gain the respect of many up and down the coast for doing so. Since the journey would take three days, they decided to leave the following day near midday.

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18 Nightal (The Drawing Down) – Nightcaller’s Doom

Early in the day, Catti-brie collected Nightcaller from the group. She asked to take the bag of holding, so she could remove the whistle only when within the presence of Maergera. The group agreed and waited. An hour or so later, Carden heaved and then puked while Rhogar became slightly dizzy. Both recovered quickly as the group looked at them concerned. It was done! Nightcaller was gone. Destroyed in the raging inferno of the primordial Maegera. Catti-brie returned with the bag of holding and confirmed that the whistle had been utterly consumed. Relieved, the group discussed very little and seemed content to return to their winter in Gauntylgrym.

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17 Nightal (The Drawing Down) – The King’s Daughter

Midday on 17 Nightal, the group received word that they were to have an audience with King Bruenor. Once assembled, the group were escorted to a smaller audience chamber they had not visited before. Across a large table carved to depict much of the north along the Sword Coast, Bruenor stood speaking to a brown-skinned woman with thick light brown curly hair with red highlights. She looked toward the group with her deep blue eyes and smiled. Bruenor waved his hand toward the woman and introduced her as Catti-brie, his daughter. The king’s daughter was not a dwarf, but a human of Bedine blood. The young woman opened her arms in greeting and the group immediately noticed spellscars on each of her forearms. A seven-pointed star on a circle of red was centered on her left forearm whereas a unicorn’s head rested on her right forearm. Her long white flowing dress suggested comfort and utility. Catti-brie thanked each of the group for their assistance in preventing the drow from stealing Maegera.

Another woman of pale skin and jet-black hair stood beyond Catti-brie watching the group closely. Shadows seemed to caress her skin and keep her obscured somewhat unless looking directly at her. Bruenor asked the group to describe their need and upon mentioning the destruction of Nightcaller, Catti-brie asked for the story of how the group encountered this item and what happened since. Carden eventually stood forward and relayed his encounter with the whistle and its connection to Daurgothoth. When the rogue mentioned the name, the pale woman spoke into Catti-brie’s ear and then shifted a few steps back. With a concerned look, Catti-brie shared her knowledge of this entity. She explained that Daurgothoth was known as the Creeping Doom and was an archmage, dracolich, and one of the most powerful beings in all of Faerûn. It is written that he was consumed to complete two near-impossible goals. First, to become the most powerful creature in the world, and the second was to breed his own race of living dracoliches. Once an enormous black dragon of incredible power, Daurgothoth chose to become a dracolich because of the power that transformation entailed. Some say he convinced a high-ranking member of the Cult of the Dragon that he wished to join the Cult. However, he manipulated the process from the beginning, so that when the transformation was made, the Cult had no magical influence over him. It was after achieving lichdom, that he killed those present and vanished into the unknown. After pausing for a moment, she agreed to inform the group on whether Nightcaller could be destroyed in the primordial’s flaming form. She returned her attention back to Bruenor and the group realized that their audience was finished.

Later that evening, Catti-brie met the party again and informed them that she would attempt to destroy Nightcaller by offering into the Maegera’s flames. She said that the primordial agreed to destroy it the following day. She casually discussed Luskan with Dyan’ette and suggested that the primordial in Gauntylgrym had a connection with the Host Tower and its regrowth. She also suggested that the forges of Gauntylgrym should aid the drow diviner in his construction of a staff, though many of the formulas used in the past have been changed or varied. She remarked that Mystra rewards those that seek to further magic and the knowledge of magic within the realms.

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16 Nightal (The Drawing Down) – Tamnai’s Day of Birth

Carden sought the others out to arrange a surprise for Tamnai. The rogue was aware that her day of birth was on 16 Nightal and schemed to prepare a celebration dinner for her. The Sunite followed her friend to the small dining hall awaiting to hear his latest gratitude for her aid in his toxicology efforts. She smiled knowing he preferred to be busy and the last several days had been successful, even with his accidental poisoning of himself. He chattered more than usual and she started to suspect something when he opened the doors. Rhogar, Dyan’ette, Aelith, and Droom stood as she entered and then Carden burst into celebration that he had delivered her to her own celebration without her any the wiser. The group offered her their congratulations and friendship as they ate and drank while discussing their individual efforts over the past weeks. Rhogar shared that he had learned that the king’s daughter should arrive on the morrow. Droom confirmed that he had heard likewise. Each drank into the evening celebrating the day of birth of their good friend and devout cleric.

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19 Uktar (The Rotting) through 15 Nightal (The Drawing Down) – Downtime in Gauntylgrym

These 27 days were used to finally turn attention toward personal needs without the threat of outside forces bearing down on the group. Gauntylgrym proved hospitable, especially after their deeds were publicly lauded by King Bruenor at the feast. As the group waited for his daughter to return so he could decide upon their request to destroy Nightcaller in the fires of the primordial, they spent their time well.

Using the feast to gain access to many of the middle-class of Gautylgrym, Aelith caroused with the dwarves over the next several days and commissioned a mithral suit of half plate armor. He spent much time with several of the dwarves of Gauntylgrym and trained his cartography skills.

Carden initially searched for magical items only to discover that his notoriety gave him access to a class willing to sell such but with powerful items far outweighing his purse. So, he turned his efforts toward unravelling the formula for the sleep poison used by the drow. After successfully discovering the formula, he asked Tamnai for help to reproduce a similar toxin from surface ingredients. His success was bittersweet as he reproduced a dose of a comparable poison, only to nick himself and earn a long rest.

Tamnai spent several days with dwarven alchemists sharing and learning. She was gifted a book of alchemy with enlightening formulas and lore. However, her exuberance gave way to haste and she scorched the later dozen pages with a caustic acid while she experimented in one of the alchemy labs. Keeping this from the dwarves, she agreed to assist Carden in his toxicology efforts to mimicking the drow sleep poison for the remaining weeks.

Dyan’ette submerged himself in his efforts to further enchant his staff. After an introduction to an unorthodox deep gnome named Anverth Glittergem, the diviner doubled his efforts and spent weeks researching and preparing the staff with Anverth’s guidance. The gnome advocated repurposing a large clear crystal from a drained magic rod and the dwarves easily mounted the crustal in the claw atop the staff. Dyan’ette ritually poured spells daily into the staff after offering some of his blood to aid in the absorption of his magic. Anverth assured him that this would accelerate the process and help him master the staff as it was enchanted.

Droom turned to his heritage and his skills to impress the dwarves of Gauntylgrym by working along their stonemasons and stonecutters. The first week, earned some coin for his tireless work and the next couple of weeks he caroused in the dwarven taverns and circles. He finished his weeks searching for some maps and luckily discovered a recent map of the Sword Coast along with two underdark maps.

Rhogar sank himself in the dwarven culture and dwarven language. His unnatural appearance and charismatic demeanor allowed him to surround himself with dwarves willing to assist him in learning the language and a trained tutor found Rhogar fascinating. Weeks of rote learning of the Dethek runes along with common phrases, sayings, and usage of the language allowed him to speak and write the dwarven tongue legibly. The only other task Rhogar completed was commissioning a symbol of Bahamut emblazoned upon his shield.

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18 Uktar (The Rotting) (cont) – A Feast of Celebration

The group discussed shared their findings in both the loot discovered on the drow and the return of the primordial from the iron flask. Realizing that they were being lead to a different part of Gauntylgrym, they soon passed by an infirmary for some healing and then shown their new chambers. Each member had a private room with amenities more accustom on the surface. Several hides and woven pillows created a bed and each room had a table with chairs, a chest, a water closet and several tapestries with frames to give the impression of windows. The dwarves informed them that they would be given some time to rest, clean up and prepare for the evening feast in their honor.

A few hours later, Angmar Ironshield arrived to collect the group for the feast. The priest informed them that they were to be honored and be on their best behavior as he guided them deeper into the dwarven fortress. The next few hours were spent reveling among 300 hundred dwarves in a vast hall prepared to celebrate the recovery of Maegera and the defeat of the drow intruders. The group were given positions of honor at the head table to the left and right of King Bruenor and his Fellhammer queens. After a toast to each of the group’s heroics from a mug drawn directly from the king’s magical shield, the evening stretched with a series of toasts, drinks, food, and stories. As the feast slowly concluded, King Bruenor awarded each of the party a dwarven-crafted mithral belt buckle in the Delzoun crest of an Anvil behind a standing Warhammer. He also invited them to remain for the winter in Gauntylgrym were their deeds would allow them access to the finest craftsmen and hardiest of festivities.

Unable to avoid discussing their true purpose for visiting Gauntylgrym, the subject of destroying Nightcaller was queried. Bruenor, with a concerned look, agreed that he would consider their request after he discussed with his daughter upon her return within a few weeks.

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18 Uktar (The Rotting) (cont) – Drow Intruders!

Outside of the audience chamber, Angmar informed the party that he would have two dwarves lead them back to their chambers to rest until the evening meal. At dinner, they could reveal any needs they have, goods or services they require, and then be given an initial tour of the trades ward. The two dwarves outside the audience chamber stepped forward and one took lead to return back to the group’s quarters. As Angmar departed the opposite direction, the second dwarf followed the party.

Several minutes into their return, Dyan’ette spotted a mark on the wall and gave warning to Carden and Aelith in front of him. The group halted after hearing that the mark was a drow waymark and only lasted an hour before drying. While informing the dwarven escorts of such and the need to inform others, a loud noise reverberated through the halls. The dwarves quickly confirmed that it was the alert of intruders and the party suggested that they follow the waymarks before the disappear to discover who made them. The dwarves agreed and the group hurried forth looking for other similar marks. Catching sight of three more as the twisted and turned along the lower corridors in Gauntylgrym, the group asked where this was leading. The lead dwarf announced that these were the old Halls of the Gods and not frequented as much since the reclamation.

Just then, three bolts shot from cover ahead to harmlessly strike the shield and armor of the lead guard. Three cloaked figures rushed out of the chamber and the party and guards pursued. The cloaked figures started to outpace the dwarves, but the party continued pursuit strectching their formation. Rhogar stopped to cast a spell and then bolted ahead only paced by Carden. Tamnai, Aelith and Dyan’ette followed. Aelith suggested that the other guard go warn the dwarves where the intruders were seen. The guard agreed quickly and turned back to get reinforcements. Droom and the other guard brought up the rear on their shorter stout legs.

Rhogar and Carden burst into a large long chamber following the cloaked figures and battle ensued. Faerie fire settled upon Rhogar as he entered, yet Carden evaded the glimmering magic. The firing of hand crossbows ringed out and many found their mark in Rhogar. Resisting the poison, the paladin continued forward. Aelith, Tamnai and Dyan’ette entered just in time to see a second volley fire at Rhogar with one piercing his hand as he held it out. These were drow, drow in Gauntylgrym! Darkness fell at the entrance to obscure sight and Tamnai answered with a daylight spell to obliterate the darkness. As Rhogar and Carden tried to engage the drow closer, they peeled back and more surged forward. A half a dozen drow warriors with hand crossbows firing eventually exchanged for buckler and shortsword. A web spell blocked the side advances of the party and covered Aelith who leaped free to engage, while Rhogar received another wound to his hand. Dyan’ette filled a large section of the room with pyrotechnic smoke causing the drow to reposition. A caster became visible and Tamnai’s daylight was dispelled. Seeing the disadvantage that the spell could bring to the drow, the Sunite called forth daylight again. Droom and the guard rushed into the fray and chaos erupted. Another dispel of the sunlight gave the drow renewed hope and two shadow demons emerged to join the fray. Dyan’ette sent forth a fireball into the drow’s defense and carefully selected targets knowing the savagery of his kind. A lightning bolt rocked through some of the party to suggest another caster was unseen. Tamnai called forth daylight again to set the drow and demons back on their heels. The demons were the first to fall along with two drow warriors, however their blades continued to find gaps in the group’s defense and poison burned with each slice from a shortsword. One of the drow casters fell and the tide turned until a drider appeared from the smoke. Spells were exchanged and steel rang repetitively with both sides taking damage. The drow and drider focused on Tamnai as the group seemed to focus on the spellcaster and his guardian warriors.

As Tamnai started to take damage, Dyan’ette called for his magic and shifted the Sunite into a huge cave ape that savagely struck at those about her. Carden fell to the floor dying, but Rhogar quickly cast curative magics from a distance to cause the rogue to gasp for air as he realized his plight. As Droom and Aelith pressed the drow warriors, the battle started to turn in the Warden’s favor. Droom noticed the hidden drow mage slip from the smoke and dart behind one of the square pillars. More importantly, the dwarf noticed that the drow dropped something attached to his belt as he hastily made the dash. Within a few moments, the drider and the remaining drow warriors were slain and the group searched for the mage. While Carden discovered a hidden door, Aelith announced that heavily armored dwarves were approaching and Dyan’ette dropped Tamnai’s ape form. Discovering that the hidden passage was filled with webs to cover the mage’s escape, the group hurriedly relayed this to Athrogate and the dozen armored companions. The burly dwarf cried aloud and ordered the dwarves to burn the webs away as they descended on the escaped drow’s heels.

As the last dwarf descended from sight, Droom announced that he recovered a warm flask the drow mage unknowingly dropped as he rushed to escape. Holding the reddish flask in his hand for observation, Dyan’ette started to detect for magic. The drow winced as if looking into a bright light as he informed the group that the flask was very magical. As the group started to discuss the flask, King Bruenor along with a dozen spike armored gut busters arrived to inquire on the situation at hand. Determined to follow any escapees, the King paused when Droom showed the flask and explained that the surviving drow dropped it as he fled. Bruenor deferred to a gnome accompanying him and the gnome studied the flask a moment before speaking excitingly to the king in gnomish. A huge smile spread on Bruenor’s face as he praised Moradin and graciousl thanked the party for their efforts. He commented on the battlefield surrounding him and expressed his approval at the group’s efficiency. Asking if the group wanted to accompany him, he turned and headed out of the chamber. All but Carden and Dyan’ette agreed to join the king and did so. Looking to loot the drow, Carden and Dyan’ette quickly turned their efforts to discovering what the drow possessed.

Dyan’ette discerned that a few of magical items were among the fallen drow. Carden seemed more concerned about collecting any poison and wealth discovered. He gathered over a dozen gems and convinced Dyan’ette to share a greater percentage with him since the party did not need them as much. Hesitantly, the drow diviner agreed but insisted that any coin be placed in the party fund to be divided equally. After this persuading conversation, the rogue returned to collecting the drow hand crossbows and their poisoned darts secured in the small thigh quivers they used. Dyan’ette chose to identify the items during this period and unveiled a cloak of displacement worn by the fallen mage and a pouch containing dust of tracelessness taken from the drider. Drow weapons and armor of quality were carried by each, though exposure to the surface and the sun would cause them to erode according to Dyan’ette. An elegant staff topped by a spider holding a diamond was gripped by the fallen mage and certainly would fetch a good price.

Meanwhile, Bruenor travelled deeper into Gautylgrym with the rest of the party in tow. The king slowed as he approached a series of hearths and forges. He turned to the group and explained that the drow had somehow used the iron flask he held to capture the fire primordial known as Maegera. The very primordial that heats the fires of Gauntylgrym. The group exchanged worried glances as this was also the very primordial rumored to erupt Mount Hotenow and destroy most of Neverwinter a decade or so ago. After speaking with his rock gnome companion and awaiting the gnome to use magical spells in hopes to guide his actions, Bruenor cautioned all to stay back as he took the iron flask to the central forge and removed the top while speaking arcane syllables. A wave of intense heat washed over the entire room as a gout of white flame surged forth into the forge and down its chute. The hearths and forges in the massive room sprang to life with a lesser heat while a reddish glow crept up the outer walls of the massive chamber. Bruenor turned with his beard smoldering to reveal a wide smile. He announced that all was well and that the group would be honored for their part in recovering the primordial. Two dwarves were assigned to accompany the group to collect their friends and then to their new chambers.

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18 Uktar (The Rotting) (cont) – The King of Gauntylgrym

The walls of the circular audience chamber were filled with carvings of the Morndinsamman, the dwarven pantheon. All twelve of the dwarven gods were intricately chiseled with great detail. A slightly raised platform rested opposite the entrance and two alcoves with doors laid behind the single heavy stone chair on the platform. A dwarf with wild red hair and beard with a large hawk-like nose as if broken several times and blue eyes sit observantly with his elbows on his knees. To each side stood an armored dwarven female. The left wore a crooked grin while the right scowled as if looking through the group as they approached.

Angmar walked forward and bowed deeply, “Me King!” as the party members followed and bowed accordingly. King Bruenor smiled and called for all to rise and for Angmar to continue. Angmar introduced the group one-by-one and explained their aid in the security of the caravan and their slaying of a fire giant and several frost giants. Bruenor listened and nodded his approval. The discussion turned toward Glitterhame where Carden ended up explaining the group’s story. Upon the mention of Renir Copperbeard, one of the females left through the alcove as Carden continued the story. After a few questions and assurances that the party could provide a map to the location they entered Glitterhame, even if the earthquake destroyed it, the discussion paused as Bruenor inspected the items claimed there. The ancient coins, the rosewood dwarven statue, the hammer of warning “Sentinel” and the throwing axe “Winter’s Breath”. The king offered ten times the value for the gold coins and another 250 gold in goods and services at Gauntylgrym. The female dwarf returned with two younger dwarves discovered to be descendants of Renir Copperbeard. The king informed each that they were to be proud of their grandfather and that after the winter, they would travel to Goldenfields to reclaim their grandfather’s remains to be interned with honor in the burial vaults of Gauntylgrym. The two young dwarves were elated and thanked the king and party for the news before they left. The women were introduced as the King’s Queens, Mallabritches and Tannabritches Fellhammer.

Darker discussion took place next as all within the chamber wanted to hear what evil artifact the group had brought to Gauntylgrym and why. After a long admission of the story behind Nightcaller, its founding, its loss, its promises of power to Carden, its return, and its whispers to others; King Bruenor commanded that it not be removed from the extradimensional space while in Gauntylgrym for now. The ancient coins and the statue were removed and then he commanded that the bag be unused until proper consultation with his priests and his daughter upon her return from Luskan. Until then, the party would be welcome in Gauntylgrym and be considered honored guests. Angmar would see to their needs and could arrange access to services, goods, tradesmen, or shopkeeps.

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18 Uktar (The Rotting) – Entering Gauntylgrym

The dwarves woke early in eagerness to reach the halls of Gauntylgrym and hustled about to prepare the caravan for its last leg of the overland journey. The party likewise prepared and were fully ready to depart when Bazain called the order to move. Cresting the ridge, the caravan started to enter a large valley with a wide river to the east and another small lava field in its western fold. A few hours of travel into the mouth of the valley and directly beneath the mountains ahead placed the caravan at an opening of a huge cavern.

The Great Cavern was a very long natural subterranean structure scattered with stalactites and stalagmites of all sizes, some resembling small towers. A series of well-constructed stone bridges spanned gaps across a dark central lake. As the caravan entered, a boar rider lit a large braziers with reflective panels to each side of the road. Within a minute, several other similar light sources flared to life across the lake ahead. The party observed the immenseness of the cavern and the defensiveness that the dwarves had erected. Ballista, Scorpions, and side sling catapults were visible once passing their defensive cover along the road and bridges. Both stalagmites and stalactites the size of buildings had stairs and bunkers carved into their core to house all manner of surprises for any foolish enough to invade the halls beyond. A half hour passed as the wagons made their way to the thick iron doors past the lake. Two 40 feet tall and 20 feet wide iron panels rimmed in mithral slowly opened as the mechanical cranking clanked loudly through the large chamber.
Once the Gates to Gauntylgrym were opened, Bazain ordered the caravan forward into a long hall at least five hundred feet in length and over 60 feet high. Hundreds of arrow slits rested in long rows 40 feet above the floor, while a balcony with parapets could be seen just below the ceiling. A second set of gates opened vertically as opposed to the similar horizontal gates first encountered. The caravan wheeled into a grand chamber beyond where dozens of dwarves greeted members of the caravan as they joined to unload. Bazain and Angmar approached the party with a few dwarves and instructed the group that their mounts would be stabled and they would be assigned quarters first and meet again for lunch in an hour or so. A serious looking dwarven female in brown breeches and tan tunic accompanied the two and introduced herself as Lyah. She explained that she would show them to their quarters once they gathered their gear. The party did so and both Katra and Sandor greeted them before they followed Lyah. Charcoal followed Carden and Lyah reminded him that the beast would be his mess to clean after unless kenneled. The rogue agreed and everyone followed the stout dwarven lass to their rooms.

Twisting through the long halls, sturdy stone stairwells, and several chambers including a vast chasm with other levels behind iron railings, the party found themselves in a lengthy corridor with a dozen doors. Lyah opened one and explained to the group that each member would be assigned a personal room that mirrored the first. A spartan chamber with two beds, a small table with two chairs, a small chest, and a water closet filled the room. Two removable oil lanterns flanked the door and provided light throughout the 15ft x 15ft chamber. The beds, chairs, and table appeared to made of petrified mushroom stalk. A padded mattress filled with a down of some sort and a thick wool blanket rested on the bed. The chairs were padded with hides and the chest was constructed of a hollowed stone. The water closet combined a narrow shoot with a seat and a basin above it that could either catch water as a sink or release water to cleanse the shoot.

The hour passed quickly and Lyah returned to escort the group to the dining hall. Carden decided to kennel Charcoal after cleaning his excrement, so the group visited the kennels to kennel the mastiff. With sad eyes, Charcoal accepted the kennel and was eager to eat the food provided. The Wardens found themselves among many dwarves in one of the dining halls. A long table with several dishes allowed them to gather their own food and they found a table to eat and wait. Dyan’ette kept his hood up, but the dwarves seemed to ignore the group as they ate and then returned to whatever duties awaited them. Angmar and Katra approached the group. Katra placed some bags on the table nodded to the group and then left. Angmar hefted the bags and dispersed a bag of 105 gold coins to each member from origin and one with 30 gold coins to Droom, “Your pay for services rendered.” He announced that he would join you and then gathered some food and drink for himself before returning.

Discussion quickly turned to what the Wardens intended to do now that they had finished their contract. Delivery of the ancient dwarven coins and statue from Glitterhame surprised Angmar and he eagerly asked of what knowledge the group knew of Glitterhame. An additional mention of Nightcaller changed the atmosphere as the priest of Moradin was wary of what evil artifact the group had introduced within the halls of Gauntylgrym. The party assured Angmar it was safe, but the fact that they had left the bag of holding alone in Rhogar’s chambers did not ease the priest’s mind. He immediately asked the group to accompany him back to their chambers to gather all their gear and then to an audience.

After quickly gathering their items, the group waited patiently in an antechamber with numerous dwarven sculptures and bas reliefs depicting the hardy race’s battle prowess. While waiting, a strange stout and powerful built dwarf with a black beard parted into two thick braids to midchest then tied off with a silver band with three blue gemstones approached them. His bushy eyebrows and large ears drew attention to his face and the two twin morningstars visible above his shoulders. He questioned the group on their names and business in Gauntylgrym while baiting them into conversation with jibes. Easily amused, the dwarf roared with a loud “Bwahahaha!” everytime the group turned a phrase or exposed themselves to a jibe. Eventually, he introduced himself as Athrogate and focused attention on Dyan’ette after admitting that he walked paths frequently with his own dark elf. Dyan’ette seemed curious and was stunned to discover that this dwarf knew and travelled with Jaraxle, the leader of Bregan Daerthe. With a final directive to be on their best behavior, Athrogate sauntered off to his own business.

The decorative doors opened and Angmar emerged to reveal that the group was entering to an audience with King Bruenor Battlehammer, the famed warrior and king of Gauntylgrym.

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15-17 Uktar (The Rotting) – Through the Neverwinter Woods

Even though some patches of snow remained on the forest floor, the woods of Neverwinter were much more comfortable than the open hills and the chilling wind off the Sea of Swords. The caravan slowly winded through the large trees, both coniferous and deciduous though the later with most of their leaves absent or dead. The first day was uneventful, yet all watched the woods as they closed in upon the caravan and made it difficult to see more than a few wagons and riders at a time. Katra doubled the guard during the night and the dwarves whispered of flapping heard but nothing seen.

The following day was much the same until movement was noticed along the periphery of the caravan. Shortly after, three leaf cloaked figures stood before the caravan’s path. Carden and Aelith approached the trio and the central figure removed her hood to reveal a beautiful elf-like woman with silver hair and golden eyes. Her ears seemed more pronounced than elves commonly seen about the Sword Coast and she spoke gently but directly in asking the business and purpose of dwarves travelling the woods on the surface. After a brief conversation where Carden eludes to the underdark now being unsafe, she instructed Aelith and Carden to announce that she, Alarah, will visit the caravan master once they camp for the night. Then all three figures magically vanished.

That night, the group awaited in anticipation as darkness surrounded the camp. Bazain and Angmar were seated at a central fire waiting the visitors when the elf and a male companion magically appeared just beyond the fire near Aelith. The ranger escorted them to Bazain as the Wardens ensured they were close enough to hear and act as necessary. Alarah greets the caravan master and immediately asks the purpose and reason the dwarves of Gauntylgrym are using the forest trails in such force. Bazain diplomatically admits that the dwarves will honor the forest as they travel through it and offers the duo wine to discuss any needed requirements. Alarah turns the conversation to the revelation of fiends below the surface that Carden mentioned. Bazain eyes the rogue and motions that the human should explain himself since he was so forthright with the information. Carden glazes over the fact that demons have been encountered below the surface in great numbers and that it is more unsafe than ever to travel there. After an inquiry to what these demons look like, Dyan’ette hands Carden his sketchings and is closely scrutinized by the companion of Alarah. Her companion whispers inaudibly in her ear and she glares at Dyan’ette deep within the fold of his hood, before inspecting the sketches. She returns them and comments that there have been no reports or sightings of such demons on the surface or within the woods of Neverwinter. The discussion becomes awkward as blame likely rests on the denizens of the deep, with the drow being foremost in those mentioned. However, Alarah abruptly ends the conversation and acknowledges Bazain and his dwarves are free to travel the forest under the eye of the elves as long as they respect the forest. The caravan master consents and Alarah and her companion misty step into the night. Certain that Alarah’s companion recognized Dyan’ette’s dark elf heritage, the group remain alert and expect a restless night. Nevertheless, the night goes uneventful and though the feeling of watchful eyes is felt by most.

The day of 17 Uktar is spent crossing the hardened lava fields left by the eruption of Mount Hotenow a decade ago. After reinforcing the wagon wheels and preparing for the crossing, the caravan slowly edged across the jagged and brittle slate trail beneath the Mountains southwestern shadow. Watching carefully for any foul denizens, the caravan and its escorts gradually make it to the lava fields southern edge. The dwarves’ spirits seem to rise as they knew Gauntylgrym was within a day. Camp was made early along a ridge and Angmar informed the group that they would finish the journey on the morrow’s morn.

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