Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Elient 18 - To The Ruins

The following morning (the 18th) we agreed to sidetrack off to the ruins and we spent a few hours equipping ourselves the merchant'’s facility. Kerowyn explained that we had to register with the Mayor'’s office for a 30 day adventuring license. She fronted the cost of such registration, but we had to provide names, origination, and a charter name. I took a quick poll and "Band of the Hand" was selected - praise to Torm!

Oh, I nearly forgot. The mayor, Vurnor Leng, asked a bunch of questions about my father and my brother, probably looking for juicy noble gossip. I did not hide the truth very well, as I was torn between the teaching of Torm to always tell the truth and the need to protect my family and the Einen name. I'm afraid I did a poor job, and I suspect the mayor didn't believe a single word. Then the mayor explained how Talgen and Sharwyn were part of a larger group to include a paladin of Tyr (Sir Braford), and a ranger (Karakas). Sir Braford was not a local, but he had good credentials and had a magic sword called he called Shatterspike. Now I was quite perturbed. This was not a case of a couple of errant children wandering off and getting lost. This was a well-armed and experienced adventuring party that went to the ruins and did not come back. We will probably just find bodies, but if it sets the merchant's mind at ease then I guess I have served her, and in serving her, served Torm.

So the paperwork was signed and the Band of the Hand received a 30 day adventuring license. Donning my new chainmail and sliding Vera into a new scabbard, we prepared to travel down the old road.

Travel to the ruins was via horseback and took a few hours. Once at the ravine we found an abandoned rope as a way into the ravine - I volunteered to go down first, of course, where I was attacked by the largest rats I had ever seen! After a brief skirmish with these dire rats, the Band of the Hand followed a couple switchbacks down into the earth where the top level of a citadel was buried. Coming down into a courtyard our scount, Talin, did not earn his keep by falling into a pit trap in front of the tower door. Safely negotiating the trap on the second attempt, we entered the tower and proceeded to a dead end upon selecting the southwest direction.

However, I noted that a dragon key of some type was necessary to continue further in that section of the Citadel. We also discovered a secret room with some animated skeletons. Chrissy attempted to turn them, but apparently her faith in Tyr was not to be rewarded this day as she utterly failed. Calling on Torm in my heart, I skillfully moved in with Vera and cut them down, with assistance from the party.

Following the northwest passage proved to be a bit more beneficial. We stumbled upon a weepy Kobold who claimed that the clan mascot - a dragon named Calcryx - was kidnapped by a goblin raid. Finding that we didn't much care for goblins either, Meepo (the weeping Kobold) led us to his leader, Yusdrayl. Yusdrayl offered Aramil two arcane scrolls for the return of the dragon. I, however, noticed a dragon key as part of the throne altar used by Yusdrayl and made an offer to purchase the key aftesuccessfullyly rescuing the dragon. Yudrayl said she'd think about it and told us to take Meepo as our guide. Meepo proceeded to guide us to the front door of the goblins.


Elient 16-17 - First Taste of Real Combat

Early in the morning of the 16th we proceeded to the stables to gather the horses we would need for our journey. That bloody drunk, Gordon Bren, gave us a hard time. I had to remind him of his place, and also remind him of my place as one of noble birth and his superior.

Traveling to Waterdeep we passed through Red Larch where I purchased some more crumblecakes for the road. We continued into the early evening when we decided to camp for the night. We established a watch order, permitting me to have first watch - which was my preference. Now I can say my prayers to Torm in the evening as is proper, and can enjoy the sunsets and the twilight which I so enjoy. My fondest memories are of playing with my older brother late on summer evenings, with the night slowly creeping in...where suddenly you realize it has shifted from sunlight to twilight, yet so gradual was the change you didn't even notice. Also, having the first watch means I don't have to get up activity I dislike.

We continued our journey on the 17th, and south of Red Larch and north of a small hamlet called Oakhurst, we found a merchant and a young man beset by bandits. Dispensing the bandits was dicey business, but successful. I discovered three things during this battle. First, that I do indeed posses courage. I did not shrink in the face of danger, and I executed a decent plan of attack that resulted in our victory. Second, that there is more to Vera than first appears. The sword seemed to do more damage than I thought possible, even for a masterwork weapon. I am going to have to keep my eyes on Vera. And third, that our Ranger is useless in the forest. He kept going on about how he is some type of "urban ranger" and "once we get to Waterdeep we'll see". Didn't keep him from getting his pocket picked in Red Larch. He is good companionship on the road, and with my brother missing and my father ill I need friends. But I am wondering if he is a little touched in the head.

Anyway, this is how we met Doc Floyd and Talin Frey. Thanking his rescue, the merchant offered each of us a Doc Floyd tonic – he looked a little crazy so we all declined (although later I went and got one once I learned that Aramil - while his spellcount per day is low - doespossess the spell identify. Talin offered his services during my travel to Waterdeep, and seeing that there is safety in numbers on the road, I accepted.

Once friendships were completed we arrived at Oakhurst and checked into the Ol’ Boar Inn. I also reported the bandits to the local officials. I was surprised at my lack of wisdom in not looking for moridentifyingng markings on the bandits that I could report to thconstablele. I was humbled by her greater knowledge and experience. I must take greater care in the future to be a credit to the Einen name.

Anyway, I was woken during the night by a woman who owns the local merchant business (Kerowyn Hucrele). She claimed her son and daughter went missing in the old ruins a days journey southeast down the old road. They were not young imps, but grown adventurers, so exploring old ruins that everyone else in town says to leave alone seemed pretty stupid to me, and I told her so. But I also accepted the quest, as Torm teaches that we must help the downtrodden and needy.

Elient 14-15, 1379 - Band of the Hand Forms

My name is Felix Einen. My father is a Knight, and we live in a manor home near Red Larch, about 3 days or so north of Waterdeep.

Around the first of the month I sent a letter to my childhood friend, Christina Jurgen, asking her to come to the Einen estate as my eldest brother was away at University and my father was ailing and I needed a friend around. On the morning of the 14th, I took a quick trip to Red Larch to pick up some crumblecakes for my ailing father. Red Larch is well know for its savory crumblecakes, which are a nourishing, though unspectacular, moist loaf of nuts, chickpea mash, chopped roots, chopped greens, turkey scraps, and wildfowl scrapes all baked together. There I witnessed a pickpocket robbing some poor elf. I managed to trip up the pickpocket, and returned the elf's sack of gold. Although the sack was so light I wondered if it had really been worth the trouble. The elf introduced himself as Beldak Glimmergaunt, and since I speak Elf I struck up a conversation in his native tounge. We got to talking, and Beldak had never had crumblecakes before, so I took him with me to the store I usually go to when I purchase them. Beldak loved the crumblecakes, and was sorry to hear that my father was not doing well and offered to travel with me back to the Einen estate so I’d have some company on the road. Despite the fact that he was poor and a bit crumpled from travel, I had grown to like Beldak and so I accepted. I also had spent way more time in Red Larch with Beldak than I originally planned, and I knew the full moon would have risen by the time I neared my manor home that evening.

As we were skirting the boarders of the Kryptgarden Forest on approach to the estate, we stumbled upon a pack of Blood Wolves attacking a traveling mage. I thought mages were supposed to be smart, but traveling alone near the borders of the Kryptgarden without a stout sword is just foolish. Beldak and I jumped into the fray, joined by Karl the family groundsman and Christina Jurgen (who had just arrived that morning). They had both had heard the commotion luckily, and all five of us drove off the wolves. I embraced my childhood friend, thanked Karl, and invited the mage and Beldik into the manor to get cleaned up and to stay for a couple of days. The mage, who also had some elf blood and seemed sutiably impressed that I spoke Elf, introduced himself as Aramil Shai'dar. He was dusty, dirty, and sweaty after the battle with the wolves, but something about him made me like him...I guess that is why without hesitation I offered him a bath at the manor. Perhaps Torm was guiding my hand that day, in anticipation of what was to come....

The next afternoon (Eleint 15th), I was greeted by Karl as I was out practicing archery. Karl gave me a few tips and proudly watched my next couple of shots (and his couple of pointers did seem to improve my accuracy). I have always liked and respected Karl. He has been a good friend while I was growing up, and really stood in for my father when he was away on one of his many knightly errands before he became sick. Before going back to his work Karl told me that I had been requested to my father's side when I get a moment.

Taking another shot (a rather good one at that), I cleaned and put away my equipment and then briskly walked back to the estate wandering what my father might be wanting. Lately he's been more asleep than awake but my father won't discuss his health issues with me and I've wondering if maybe this time he is going to explain.

I found my father, with his second wife doting about, actually with his eyes open and conscious. His current wife, Dore'nel, is not my mother. She is only a few years older than me, and while I admit she is quite beautiful, there is something about her I find annoying. Anyway, she was in one of her flowing gowns and stoped what she was doing and graciously invited me into my father's room and asked that I take a seat next to the bed. Lord Fornias (my father) looked at me and explained that a letter has arrived from Professor August Merriweather at the University in Waterdeep - then stopped, coughed, and spit some blood into a pot besides his bed.

At that, Dore'nel looked saddened and continued, "the letter your father received states that your older brother Jonas is missing and inquiring if he has returned home. Your father and I feel that Jonas is too responsible to have just run off and fears that something might have happened."

With that, my father coughed, and explained that he feels that he is at the end of his life. And unfortunately he has had to sign the papers to have Jonas declared legally dead last week. At this point Fornias fought back tears and continued, stating that he had no choice, as the Einen family must live on.

At the dazed and confused look on my face, Dore'nel explained precisely the following law..."if the heir to a noble family fortune is 'unaccounted for' when the head of the family dies, the fortune then reverts to the crown, which may decide to do with it as it wishes. However, the family may petition to declare the inheritor 'legally dead.' The heir has six months to show up in person and prove that he is, in fact, alive. If he has not appeared by the end of six months the heir is declared legally dead and loses all rights to the family fortune, with the inheritance passing to the next in line - in this case, Ralphus (the middle child in our family). Ralphus is now too important to the survival of the Einen family, therefore your father would like you...".

Fornias interrupted at this point and stated that he hopes that by taking this drastic step that even if he were to die, Jonas would at least have a chance to return and claim what is rightfully his. He explained that now that I had a couple of pals I needed to take them and travel to Waterdeep to find my brother Jonas. He told me to see him once again prior to leaving.

Fornias then started to doze off and mutterd - "one way or another, the Einen family will carry on" - and with that fell back into unconsciousness. Stunned into silence I left the room.

After quickly meeting with Beldak, Aramil, and Chrissy, we decided to leave at first light. Dore'nel came downstairs at that point, and handed me a sack of gold for the mission. She also stated that we would be permitted to take 3 horses on our journey. And lastly, she told me that my father requested that I take his longsword along with me on the journey. At that, I was amazed. "Vera", as I call her, was the sword the Duke used to Knight my father. It is always at his side or over the mantle in the greatroom. Reverently, I removed Vera from over the fireplace, replacing her with my own longsword. With Vera safe in my scabbard, I turned to my new friends.

"Rest ye well," I stated, "for tomorrow we ride."

"Remember," Dore'nel added, "you only have six months."