Adventurer's Beware

13 Uktar (The Rotting) – The Unknown Fate of Port Llast

The morning brought an accumulation of nearly four inches of snow. Bazain, Angmar and Katra discussed the implications if the weather delayed their journey and shared their concern with the group. Meanwhile, Aelith returned to the group with knowledge that a large group of giants and monstrosities seemed to be gathered along the northwest a few miles ahead. It became apparent that this was not a coincidence as Port Llast was roughly in that vicinity. It was decided that the Wardens would scout ahead and determine the threat while the caravan would continue at a slower pace.

Dyan’ette’s divination unveiled frost giants slaughtering small groups of humans along the snow-covered trail leading east from the High Road. The Wardens continued cautiously until they found the fork that lead to Port Llast. A small group of fur clad humanoids bolted north as soon as they heard the group’s approach. After inspecting the prints in the snow, Aelith confirmed that the humanoids had emerged from the cut leading to the coast.

Scouting further, a scene of destroyed wagons and mutilated humans confirmed Dyan’ette’s arcane eye. Giant tracks were found and visibility was limited as the snows continued to fall and mix with a heavy fog drifting up from the cut toward the town of Port Llast. The fogs swirled as two frost giants emerged. Everyone became aware of the other and a battle ensued.

The huge axes of the frost giants were vicious and unrelenting when driven by their strength and anger. The next several minutes were chaos as one of the frost giants blew a horn and reinforcements continued to arrive. Winter wolves surged at the party and spells were released by Tamnai and Dyan’ette to burn and sear their hides along with the giant’s blue flesh. Rhogar and Droom took massive cuts from the giant’s axes and retaliated with savage strikes of their own. Aelith and Carden skirted the battle and deeply cut into both giants and wolves. Slaying the final giant as it ran for more aid, the Wardens finally caught their breath and started healing their multiple wounds. Seven frost giants and five winter wolves laid slain on the reddened snows and fire-hardened ground from spells.

Aelith sunk his hands in the snow and called to nature to reveal further threats as the group began searching the giants and gathering coin and items. The ranger looked at all with a worried glance. “There are at least nine more giants in the town below along with another ten winter wolves!”

11-12 Uktar (The Rotting) – Northern Snows

A full day in Neverwinter shopping the stores and exchanging coin and gems filled time for the group. A few meals and several drinks allowed the group to share tales with their latest member. Rhogar and Droom seemed to enjoy the other’s company as Rhogar asked many questions about dwarven habits and mannerisms. The group prepared for their departure the next morning.

The following morning brought snow and thick low clouds across the coast. The Wardens gathered their mounts, settled their costs, and rode for the northern gate onto the High Trail. A couple of hours later, they rejoined the caravan and took their posts. Droom rode with Rhogar on his conjured bear-like steed while Dyan’ette took his post atop a wagon in the falling snow. The drow watched in marvel at a sight never seen before, snow was different. The snow continued as the caravan creaked north. As evening approached and camp was set, it was obvious that the snow planned to continue through the night.

10 Uktar (The Rotting) – The Scale Calls

As the sun spread across the High Road, the caravan prepared to reach Neverwinter. Lady Hawkwinter thanked the dwarves for their company and then thanked the Wardens for their selfless deed in rescuing the farm folk. Only two farm folk decided to accompany the knight to Helm’s Hold and the others decided to travel to Neverwinter with the caravan.

As the Wardens watched Lady Hawkwinter ride west, Bazain and Angmar called them to the side to discuss Neverwinter. The caravan master suggested that the party enter the city an hour behind them as if they were not aligned with the caravan. He further asked them to stay alert once in the city and listen for any rumors or actions that would hinder the caravan’s planned departure the morning of 12 Uktar. The group agreed and watched as the caravan snaked forward until lost in the distance.

An hour later, the party mounted and headed for Neverwinter. Dyan’ette decided to remain hooded after a brief discussion with the group and eventually the stone walls of a large city stretched before them. Rhogar took lead with Tamnai and Dyan’ette riding beside him. Carden and Aelith stayed to their sides watching the surroundings and the cities walls.

Aelith and Carden both halted their horses abruptly about 300ft from the open gates to the city. With furrowed brows, they shared with the group that they received a vision of a seated dwarf through a frosty veil. Concerned, the group admitted that another scale was present in Neverwinter and that its owner was likely aware of them as well.

Tamnai suggested that she could possibly use magic to find the scale once they were in the city and the group agreed. The guards seemed helpful and suggested both taverns and inns for their stay. The city was obviously being rebuilt slowly and numerous children approached to offer services as guides. As the group followed an urchin paid to lead them to the Fallen Tower Tavern, they witnessed Neverwinter’s efforts to reclaim itself as the ‘City of Skilled Hands’ and ‘Jewel of the North’. Tamnai cast her location spell and nodded to the grouptat she felt the object they sought to the north and east. The group traveled through the ward known as the Protector’s Enclave toward the Neverwinter River that split the city into north and south. The city sprawled outward and Castle Never loomed ahead as the group approached the eastern most bridge to the northern part of the city. Tamnai confirmed that their direction remained true as they followed their urchin guide through the Bluelake District and into the Tower District. As they neared the Fallen Tower Tavern, the spell ended.

Upon entering the tavern, Carden’s eyes met those of the dwarf in the vision almost immediately. Somewhat awkwardly, the Wardens found a table as they were clearly watching the pale skinned dwarf that was watching them. Rhogar’s directness broke some of the tension as he realized the situation and pointed to the dwarf a few times while confirming with Aelith that it was the one in the vision. The Wardens were patient and ordered food and drink while waiting to see what the pale dwarf would do. Several minutes later, the pale dwarf stood and walked with purpose to their table.

A curious and guarded conversation was exchanged, but ended with a tentative alliance. The dwarf’s tale was that he had received the white dragon scale as a gift from a human barbarian tribe after slaying a giant that had wronged them. The conversation jumped several times and included discussion on Rhogar’s transformation, a goal to destroy an evil artifact carried by the party, a mission to escort dwarven goods to Gautylgrym, and other minor stories. Aelith seemed irritated at the forthright exposure of so much information. An unexpected arrival of Aristor broke some of the tension as he read this new dwarf, Droom. The consultant thanked the party for their company along the trail to Neverwinter and informed them that Bazain still planned to leave the morning of 12 Uktar. Further discussion in a more secluded area between Droom and the Wardens ended with his expectation to join them on their journey as he was fated to find others with similar scales.

The evening passed with the group watching the Fallen Tower’s ghostly entertainment and a warm bed at the Silver Serpent Inn.

9 Uktar (The Rotting) – Closing on Neverwinter

The wagons trudged forward throughout the day and little was sighted beyond a few birds of prey. At Lady Hawkwinter’s suggestion, the caravan camped at the fork that offered a path to Helm’s Hold. She informed all that should would depart for Helm’s hold in the morning and escort any farm folk that wanted to accompany her there.

That evening, Dyan’ette provided a secure shelter for the farm folk as Lady Hawkwinter informed the Wardens of Neverwinter and its tragic past. The dwarves’ spirits seemed high as over half of their journey had passed with great success

8 Uktar (The Rotting) (cont) – Catching the Caravan

After a short rest, the farm folk were placed on the horses and the Wardens along with Lady Hawkwinter started back to the High Road. An hour prior to dusk, the group approached the caravan as it was making camp for the night.

The party asked if the farm folk could travel with the caravan to Neverwinter and Tamnai offered coin to pay for their passage. Bazain agreed and Lady Hawkwinter offered her services as a knight for the caravan’s defense until they reached the road’s fork to Helm’s Hold. As the air cooled for the night and clouds lowered, the night passed uneventful under the watch of the dwarves and Wardens.

6-8 Uktar (The Rotting) – A Lone Knight

As the morning sun beamed through a cloudless sky, the caravan organized in the streets of Leilon. Angmar confirmed supplies and accounted for all as the group slowly headed for the town’s north gate. Exited through the wooden palisades, the caravan creaked onward in hopes the weather would remain pleasant.

The first two days and nights passed slowly with observant eyes looking for any signs of danger. With rumors reinforced that giants were spotted over the past weeks, every eye sought any sign that the behemoths could be nearby. Fires were shielded and kept low in the evening and altogether extinguished through the nights.

The morning of 8 Uktar, a lone armored rider was spotted to the east. As the outriders engaged the figure, it was relayed that the armored rider was a knight of Helm known as Lady Harriana Hawkwinter. She explained that she was from Helm’s Hold to the north and had followed the tracks of a giant and its band after they had taken several captives from a farmstead. Once the knight was escorted to Bazain, more details were unveiled. The giant was described as an armored fire giant with half a dozen half ogres with heavy armor and shields. At least a dozen hobgoblins and a score of goblins completed the giant’s retinue. Upon hearing the knight’s request for assistance, Bazain informed her and the party that he cannot risk the caravan nor his dwarves for such a mission. However, he did allow the party to assist if they chose, but the caravan continued and the Wardens would have to catch up if they were successful. He reiterated that such heroics were potentially leaving the caravan at risk, but he expected no less after hearing the Wardens exploits. Bazain called for the caravan to continue, while Angmar nodded to the group and exclaimed that they should make haste.

As the group travelled east following Lady Hawkwinter, she informed them that the giant had established an excavation site and had some of the half-ogres digging and goblins moving the dirt. The hobgoblins had set a close perimeter and the captives were along the inner side of the hole. She did not expect to find aid so fast and anticipated that a full assault could break the giant’s band. The party made plans as Dyan’ette scouted with his arcane eye to confirm the layout and numbers of enemy at the excavation site.
A frontal attack with magic assaults followed by a wall of blades was decided. Lady Hawkwinter used the assault to circle the site and reach the captives. The assault initially went as expected and over half of the giant’s forces were incinerated in a barrage of fireballs from Dyan’ette and Tamnai. A mounted Rhogar along with Aelith and Carden on foot closed quickly to engage the enemy. Several enemy arrows found their mark before the gap was closed, but the enemy never gained the advantage. Dyan’ette banished the giant and this action allowed the others to rapidly defeat the remaining hobgoblins, goblins, and half-ogres. Lady Hawkwinter freed the captives before Dyan’ette released the banishment after the Wardens surrounded the giant. The fury of the imprisoned giant was released and he charged forward to severely injure Tamnai. The others swarmed the giant, but the behemoth dropped Tamnai with a savage slash of his blade while calling out “For Xalto!” The Sunite was healed almost immediately and the party finished the fire giant with extreme prejudice.

As Lady Hawkwinter gathered the freed captives, the party searched the fallen and discovered a small fortune in coin. Carden also uncovered a magical set of studded leather armor the giant was using as a washcloth.

2-5 Uktar (The Rotting) – A Ghastly Experience and Battlefield Carnage

Leaving the morning of 2 Uktar, the caravan found an uneventful day and night as they winded along the High Road through the Mere. The next day seemed similar to the previous day, but the later part of the night was interrupted by a savage attack along the entire camped caravan. Undead loped from the mere with intent to slay any soul living and quickly assaulted the dwarves, the party and any animals they could reach. Dyan’ette’s hut caused them to circumvent the front of the camp and Tamnai’s call to Sune prevented some from approaching her and those near. Carden was rapidly swarmed and the filthy claws of the ghasts paralyzed him before Dyan’ette raised him out of their reach with magic. The stench flooded the caravan as alarms were raised and dwarves answered the call. Rhogar cleared several of the undead with powerful holy strikes along the western flank. Unarmored, Aelith was calculating in his attacks and Tamnai used her burning whip to maximum effect. Carden returned to the fight invisible and helped Aelith and Tamnai clear the eastern flank. Within a few minutes, the area was littered by corpses of the undead and dwarves uniformly provided for injuries.

The 4th and 5th of Uktar proved less difficult as the caravan made its way out of the Mere and toward Leilon. As the wagons crested the hills just north of the Mere, carrion birds were spotted circling in the distance. After further investigation, a battlefield was discovered. Three hill giant corpses pierced and slashed horribly along with nearly a score of human barbarian corpses littered the grassy hills. Another hill giant corpse was discovered northeast of the battlefield and closer inspection suggested that two hill giants and another dozen or so humans likely survived the encounter. The giant’s tracks lead northeast and the humans toward the east. The battle implied that the humans were likely Uthgardts, fierce warriors known to roam the fringes of society in the north. Regardless, the caravan continued its trudge to Leilon with hopes to reach the town before sundown.

As planned, the caravan made the town of Leilon a little before darkness. Bazain arranged the caravan’s stay with announcement that the plan was to continue first thing in the morning. As the quartermaster’s restocked food, water, and any needed supplies, the party found lodging in the town. Dyan’ette chose the higher end inn where Aristor lodged, while the others chose the less pricey inn. Both offered accommodations that allowed for a hot meal, a warm bath, and a soft bed. The group obtained recent rumors about the surrounding issues and the growing giant menace before finding rest.

1 Uktar (The Rotting) – Carnath’s Roadhouse

After an early breakfast, the Wardens gathered in the courtyard to see the full caravan’s composition. Angmar Ironshield welcomed them and walked them about for proper introductions. A quick report to Katra clarified the group’s placement and assignment. Aelith and Carden were designated as forward outriders. Rhogar was assigned as a roving rider for the first half of the caravan and Tamnai was to remain close to the first quarter of the column. Dyan’ette was assigned to the first hardened wagon to be available to Bazain, the Caravan Master. Upon mention of his name, Bazain Oathkeeper the Caravan Master approached for introductions. An intimidating muscular dwarf with a square face, broad forehead, coarse gray hair and beard, and narrowed eyes announced himself in a deep booming voice. He crossed his heavily tattooed arms as he listened to introductions and skill sets. Bazain and Katra left the Wardens with Angmar as another dwarf approached. This scholarly dwarf with neatly cropped red beard and hair was tall and beefy. He introduced himself as Thirbar Stoneshaft and Angmar explained that Thirbar would be serving as the assistant Quartermaster to Angmar for the journey.

Angmar further walked the column and introduced the remaining members of the caravan. The party observed that each wagon had camping supplies such as tents, cooking items, and a water barrel. The covered wagons had two horses hitched to pull them while the hardened wagons, obviously used for underdark travel in the past, were pulled by a giant boar each. As he passed the wagons he called to the dwarves by their names and each waved their acknowledgement in a dutiful manner. The group consisted of:
- The lead wagon was covered, laden with crates and barrels and ridden by Jhaster and Faern
- The next wagon was hardened and ridden by Arn and the caravan master Bazain
- Next was a tarped cart ridden by two female dwarves Miira and Nandae
- The next wagon was covered, laden with crates and barrels and ridden by Nor and the assistant Quartermaster Thirbar
- The next wagon was hardened and ridden by a female dwarf, Gwythiir, and the Battlemaster Katra
- The next wagon was covered, laden with crates and ridden by Durl and Dorn
- The next wagon was covered, laden with crates and barrels and ridden by Cindarm and Uldred
- The next wagon was hardened and ridden by Boront and Quartermaster Angmar
- Next was a cart laden by barrels and ridden by Sandor Stoneheart
- The next wagon was covered, laden with crates and ridden by Tol and Mern
- The last wagon was hardened and ridden by the female dwarf Abryn and male dwarf Elmyrn

Angmar finished the tour by introducing four dwarven cavalry boar riders from Gauntlygrym. Rakor Stoneheart, the brothers Jorn and Badorn Blackanvil, and Dagun Steelhand each respectfully nodded to Angmar and returned to ride the line. Finally, Angmar motioned for a dwarf of the keep that approached with two warhorses and a riding horse. Angmar took the reins and passed them to Aelith. “These are for your group’s use, so best to take care of them as if they were yer own.

The party took their places as Rhogar summoned his bear mount and the caravan left Stoneshaft hold shortly after dawn. Travel to the edge of the Mere of Dead Men was uneventful and the caravan paused for some food and drink. Luckily, travel through the mere proved ordinary and the caravan reached Carnath’s Roadhouse an hour before dusk.

A large half-orc announcing himself as Bog Luck, the superintendent for the Roadhouse, argued with Bazain about actual fitting such a large number of wagons in his small waypoint. After negotiations and exchange of coin, the dwarves set about orderly placing their wagons and mounts within the confines of the walled establishment. The drovers and warriors, other than the boar riders, were to remain with the wagons while the others secured rooms on the upper landing of the Roadhouse.

The group noticed a strange wagon parked against a wall and eventually discovered its stranger owner in the kitchen/dining room of the Roadhouse. Along with a mumbling cook named Gristle Pete, few were present when the party arrived for their bland meal of stew and bread to be used as a spoon for the stew. The stranger intently eyed every member of the party as they entered, almost to an awkward point. The stranger continued to study the group and any other that entered over the next half hour. The group ultimately approached the stranger to be introduced to Aristor Del’Donnis, a tethyrian dressed in long blue robes and hood. His fair complexion with straw colored hair and beard with reddish highlights, pierced nose and right brow, long fingernails, and numerous gaudy jewelry gave a sense of curiosity. Aristor confided in the party that he had been at the Roadhouse for over a week and would like them to sponsor his request to join the caravan to the north with intention to make it to Neverwinter.

The following conversation revealed that Aristor was extremely observant, overly confident, and very callous without recognizing such. This was the need for the group to sponsor him with the Caravan Master. He also suggested his occupation as a merchant with scented cooking oils and perfumes from Amn could be beneficial. After some introspective deductions about Rhogar, Carden, and Tamnai, the party recommended him to Bazain. A thorough reading of Thirbar at his expense in front of Katra ended in Bazain’s approval of Aristor joining the caravan.

28-30 Marpenoth (Leaffall) – Caravan Preparation

The day of 28 Marpenoth was spent receiving any goods purchased and measurements for the winter clothing to be provided for the journey. Dyan’ette received his staff back and was pleased with the fine craftsmanship the dwarves had used to infuse the orichalcum and dragon’s blood along the staff’s surface. Aelith purchased a cartographer’s kit and the others used the time to unload some excess weapons and equipment and resupply. Their clothing was supplied to them on 30 Marpenoth and that evening, they met Katra, the Battlemaster for the caravan. The battlemaster had long black hair with thin braids, gray eyes, and a square no-nonsense face. Her low toned voice was demanding and she appeared very focused. She commonly gripped the holy symbol of Moradin about her neck and asked the group to describe their skills so she could apply them tactically to her security plan. The group noticed that wagons were already being prepared that evening for the early start the next morning. Just before retiring, the group met a bald rowdy dwarf with a double piercing on his right eyebrow. His large moustache and short beard did nothing to lessen his talkative nature. Introducing himself as Sandor Stoneheart, brewer and entrepreneur accompanying the caravan to provide stout, ale, and wine for the hard workers travelling the dusty trail. The group rapidly identified that Sandor had no concept of personal space and hummed incessantly when not talking. He assured that he knew each party member’s preferred drink before leaving the taproom.

27 Marpenoth (Leaffall) (cont) – The Banquet

After the group finishes their baths, they gather in the taproom for a drink. The evening begins tense as a misunderstanding between Dyan’ette and Kron over some offensive words delays the Warden’s meeting with Master Ebenezer. Eventually, the party follow Kron across the dimly lit bailey toward the inner Keep. The dwarves flanking the heavy doors opened them immediately for the castellan allowing access to the inner courtyard. Silence is prevalent and only interrupted by a strong breeze from the Sea of Swords. When the doors to the Hall opened, noise erupted from the once barren Hall. Filled with dwarves enjoying a feast and drink, the noise subsided as attention was drawn to the Wardens arrival.
Crossing the Hall, all eyes were upon the group as they approached Master Ebenezer seated at the rear of the room. The stalwart visage of the graying Master of the Stoneshaft Clan, Ebenezer Stoneshaft, watched intently. To his side, Angmar Ironshield stood with golden beard and hair, a prominent symbol of Moradin about his neck, lifting a bushy brow and nodding slightly in approval. Ebenezer banished the silence with a clear and loud, “Welcome Wardens! I have been informed of your exploits…and abilities…demonstrated beneath. Your aid and courage is commendable. Join me and we will discuss your compensation.” He waved a hand at a smaller table to his left able to sit the group. Ebenezer lifted a valuable tankard, “To Moradin! To the Hold!” The room emitted a cacophony of approval and returned to its previous carousal.
Grub was seated in a corner nearby with a large tankard in one hand and a larger turkey leg in his other. His yellow-stained toothy grin and raised tankard toward you was noticeable. Master Ebenezer addressed your group directly, “Your skill of arms comes in a time of opportunity it would seem. To face demons is a task few can boast, even less live to tell their tale. Each of you will receive goods or services that equal 200 gold coins in value. Before you request such services, I would suggest you listen to our esteemed guest and friend Angmar Ironshield.”
“You are far too generous Master Ebenezer”, Angmar replied. “I also applaud your prowess in battle and thank you for your timely arrival. I must admit that my boys and I were starting to wear thin, but an hour of battling waves of demons through several chambers does that to even a dwarf.” His beard and moustache raised as if he was smiling widely beneath. “The underdark is closed to us for now and the surface will become harsh in the coming months. I am returning to Gauntylgrym with a large caravan of needed goods this winter. This will be overland and many of me boys still need some time. The trip will take just less a month under fair conditions. With the threat of giants added, I would ask if you Wardens would accompany the caravan back to Gauntylgrym? Yer skilled, so a pay of 5 gold coin per day along with food, board, supplies and a welcome into Gauntylgrym is the offer. I plan to leave after three days, the morn of 1 Uktar.”
“We are honored by your generosity,” Aelith said with a deep nod of his head. “It’s only a shame that this payment for our services comes at the sacrifice of so many of your kind. It’s a great loss, which is why I think our assistance to Angmar and his clansmen will be beneficial for everyone involved.” The ranger continued, “I think I speak for our group when I say that our interests also lie in Gauntylgrym, so it’s very fitting to accompany Angmar. With winter fast approaching and the path ahead treacherous, I’m sure our group could identify some necessities for the road ahead. Warmer clothes, I’m sure, as a start. We won’t take your time as Master of the keep, but if you could let us know who we should coordinate our needs and how to best request fulfillment of our payment, we’d deeply appreciate it.”
Master Ebenezer nodded in appreciation at Aelith’s remarks, “This is good news indeed. You may list your requirements and give those to Grimmel at the Sea Tower. Clothing will be provided for you and any traveling with Angmar. Someone will gather your sizes in the morn. If you choose to reserve your well-earned compensation until you reach Gauntylgrym, a letter of value will be provided for any that choose this option.” Angmar lifts his tankard, “I gladly accept yer employment and look to our growth as allies! A toast to Master Ebenezer and the dwarves of the Stoneshaft Clan!”
The group was offered more drinks. They conversed, drank and ate their fill at the Hall of Master Ebenezer. The evening was uneventful beyond dwarves encouraging Rhogar to tell his tale of how he was blessed to become a dwarf. The dwarves engaged Aelith and Carden once they discover the two spoke dwarven. Tamnai was occasionally engaged, but with less enthusiasm. Since she did not speak dwarven, most of the conversation toward her was queries to how a follower of a deity based on beauty became an adventurer. Conversation with Dyan’ette was avoided directly, but he was included when a conversation involved others in the party. It was apparent that the dwarves were avoiding discussion about arcane subjects or demons.
A few hours later, a dwarf offered his services to escort the party back to the Sea Tower. Upon entering, Grimmel welcomed them back. “You took long enough. There is parchment and ink if your to list your requests. I can take them tonight or in the morn.” He nodded toward a table near the hearth with parchments and some ink wells with quills.
The group completed their requests and handed them to Grimmel before departing to their rooms.


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