The day passed without major incident. Dolvarin’s steady cycle of teleportations and commercial purchasing, leaving behind the telltale scent of caramon and occuring with the gentle whoosh of the wind through the trees, provided an irregular soundtrack to the goings-on at the Sleeping Dragon Inn. After the morning prayer with Grosh and Shirl-E, Mayaheine departed to Morningdawn Hall to insure the continued safety of the Morninglord’s flock. Grosh turned in for a nap while Shirl-E amused herself by exploring the small town of Windless. Unseen Phoenix, for his part, spent the day walking among the people, listening to their concerns, and learning what he could of recent events. Things took a turn for the worse as the sun settled below the Western Mountains.
First, as the Knights sat down to enjoy their evening meal together and listen to the latest tale of commercial genius from Dolvaren, Lucas entered the Sleeping Dragon Inn, a bound and gagged Sir Gareth Corneil thrown in to the floor before him. “Here he is, friends, the vile blackguard who infiltrated the Halls of Justice itself and presumed to deceive Lord Grimjaws. It took some doing to arrange to get him out of Waterdeep but he has too many friends in the City of Splendors to receive justice there. Gratefully, Blackstaff agreed with me and sent me here so we could deal with him ourselves. And to think, he was carrying this holy blade of justice! What ho, was I interrupting dinner? Excellent, let us feast our reunion and this opportunity to work justice by our own hands!”
DM Note: The Sword is Illuminator, a Sword of Intercession, and a relic of Tyr’s Procession of Justice, the time during the Age of Thunder when Tyr led a great crusade across Faerun and established His church. It has a tremendous relic value to the church of Tyr.
This magical weapon is aligned LG and dedicated to Tyr. A character of any different alignment may wield a sword of intercession, but it will function as a
normal, nonmagical weapon. A character of the same alignment as the sword may wield it as a +2 weapon. A character who worships Tyr may wield it as a +4 sword, and in addition
gains SR 19 and a +2 bonus on all saving throws so long as the sword is held or carried. If the wielder is a paladin, once per week, the wielder may maximize a Smite attack but the sword will function as a nonmagical sword for a tenday thereafter. Such a character will also be able to commune with his deity once per week, asking one yes-or-no question at that time. The sword will not work for those who have only converted to their new alignment or religion within the last year.
While the party launches into discussions of Lucas’s absence and what to do with the prisoner, the boisterous discussion is eventually drowned out by the sound of drums rattling the rafters of the Inn. The Knights grab weapons and emerge out into the street to be confronted by a most ominous sight.
All around the narrow valley in which Windless had been built, the Galena mountains pressed close by. The hamlet had only two buildings of more than one story originally, the Inn now owned by Dolvarin, and the Tranth House, on the opposite end of town, currently home for Princess Artemis. In between the two large buildings, a single street connected Hobart’s Way with Windless as it passed from Arcata to Bloodstone. To the East, the Tower of Algorthas had been transported to avoid the black sphere engulfing Bloodstone. To the West, on the slopes of Mt. Velidelio, the rough tiny outline of Morningdawn Hall could still be seen in the dying light of the day. But on the mountains, more than 40 torches were visible, and the sounds of drumming pounded through the valley. In the center of the square, a dwarf male lay bound on the ground. Perched on the roof of the Tranth House, its talons tearing loose dozens of shingles, sat a monstrous red dragon with a huge fire giant mounted astride the beast.
The giant spoke first, his voice bellowing and booming through the valley. “I am King Snurre, lord and sovereign of the fire giants of the Novalarond. I had no quarrel with you but you made me your enemy by entering my home and robbing me of my property. I am come to have either my vengeance or redress my losses. My forces will level this town and every living thing in it if I do not have satisfaction. I do not require your death, however, and I am prepared to be merciful. Bound in the center of the square is a dwarf you will recognize. I have instructed him as to the terms of your survival. You would do well to listen to him. My forces will stay their hand, for now. Do not think to barter with me, I am a King.”
While Lucas and Grosh both felt their hands curling around their weapons, Mayaheine the Dawnknight strode calmly from the West into the Square. He knelt down at the dwarf and picked up his crumpled form, tearing off his bonds in a smooth motion as he did so. Deliberately, steadily, he lead the dwarf into the Sleeping Dragon Inn, and as he passed the Knights he said this,”My friends, there are more than 40 fire giants arrayed around the town. They have boulders aplenty and that dragon is Brazzemal. I was able to see them coming towards the town late this afternoon from Morningdawn Hall, they were coming from the direction of Hillsafar Hall. A great smoke was rising from Hillsafar; my scout has not returned yet from there. I fear the stone giants and the garrison may have been slaughtered. We must be very careful lest all the good people of Windless die. Please come inside with me now.”
The Knights reluctantly agreed, seeing no immediate way to overcome the giant’s commanding position.
Inside, they shoved Sir Gareth to the side and looked upon the face of Iron Duke Mongo Garumbelly of Hillsafar Hall. The Dwarf’s red beard and piercing blue eyes were exactly as described and the dwarf looked relieved to be free of bondage.
“Garumpf, ach, what a bad business this is. First elves incite the Giants against us and we are driven out of the Hall, now I am here, forced to act as messenger for King Smoky-pants! Bad bad bad. Any road, you need to know what His High and Mightiness wants right? Ach, here it is then. That King up there, he has been happy ruling over his kind in the mountain furnaces of the Novalarund for a couple of hundred years. Some of his younger stones, they want him to rebuild Ostoria, some mythical kingdom from days of yore. I get the same nonsense from mine about Tharazdum. Any road, the King’s daughter hits on a scheme to do it and she takes herself off to the South, bearing a false message from the King to Nosnra, that filthy Hill Giant you rustled out of my house. With that, she gets herself a small army and begins building up a little throne for herself atop the Bloodstone Mines. Soon after, she is making some powerful allies all over and draws the attention of the Drow down in that big forest where they used to have some sort of elfy-green kingdom (Myth Drannor and Cormanthor). She makes a deal with them to use the Mercury Pool in Bloodstone to let them accomplish some sort of evil God ritual that their bitch Queen Lolth, spits on the ground, wants with a bunch of relics from all over the Realms. Next thing, word gets to the King that this Melding thing can bring any god back to life and it seems that many start paying attention. Zhents, Banites, Cyricists, all of them start getting real curious about stuff up here in Damara. Well, that makes the King realize that what his daughter is doing might go beyond a little willful indiscretion and might pose a real risk to his High and Mightiness.
Sure enough, right about then, the Frost Giant Jarl shows up with some little elf woman, carrying some sort of loom claiming that Ingrid, his daughter, had offered a huge bounty for the loom. The King sends his own ambassador with the loom to talk things over with Ingrid and you know what the bitch sends her dad back in reply? The head of his own ambassador, her uncle. The head had a magic mouth cast upon it reporting that Ingrid only recognized the one true king of giants, Moloch, the one who destroyed the elves once and would do so again. Well, that had the King all upset. He decides to muster all the tribes and eliminate this heresy before it got out that it was his own daughter what was doing this. Thats when you all show up, tearing apart the Jarl’s Rift and destroying the remnants of Nosnra’s force. He had just about decided he needed to make a deal with King Gareth when word comes back to him that Gareth was off fighting the dragons of Castle Perilous, an old irritation to Snurre since the white dragons of the glacier were usually just predators except when those dragons got them all fired up. Of course just as he comes to that conclusion, you all show up in his own castle and steal his treasure and interrupt his grand council. With all the magic you have and the damage you did the Chief and the Jarl, he decided he needed to settle things with you direct.
Not that he can own up to that in front of his troops, no, that would cost him dearly, probably provoke a challenge. So, he tosses me in here to tell you his terms in private.
So here it is: He will spare Windless and release any claims he has south of the Great Glacier on two conditions: 1) You bring his daughter to him, dead or alive. 2) You make no claim on the Glacier or Novalarund. That land is the hunting grounds of the giants from the days of Ulutiu’s Betrayal and will always be so. He also suggests you get to work preventing those drow from completing their ritual and offered me my freedom to show you how to get into the Underdark. Apparently, the sphere is an intrustion of the Demonweb Pits into this realm, above the ground things are warped but below the ground an entire drow city has been brought. That is bad news to me, up till now all we have had to deal with are the remnants of some weak-old fish people. Part of why the stupid hill giants were able to defeat us was many of my warriors were busy cleaning out the fish-men’s nest; apparently they have been hidden in the Underdark for centuries. Anyway, you all should be able to make short work of them on our way to the drow.
So, what do you think? Are ye ready for some adventure?”
The dwarf awaited the Knight’s response.