Guardians of the Past

6th of Mirtul 1366 Year of the Staff

Some members of the party, Erith, Corthen, and Rehs go hunting boar with Lord Cauldyth and his daughter, Rhiannon. Lord Cauldyth and Erith each take a boar and Corthen kills two wild boar in the Lord’s Wood.

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5th of Mirtul 1366 Year of the Staff

The party recovers their treasure from the Mermaid Sword and stores it in the depths of Aithe Keep. Several members buy hunting leathers to go boar hunting with Lord Cauldyth.

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4th of Mirtul 1366 Year of the Staff

The Mermaid Sword docks in Aithelar. The crates of swords are unloaded by dockworkers and placed on ten carts pulled by oxen and driven by drovers. The party separates and rides different carts. Corthen rides the lead cart with a bound and hooded Thazstar seated along side him. Erith rides the third wagon. Rehs rides the fifth cart with Tellazar on the sixth wagon. Samira rides on the ninth and Ayremyr brings up the rear on the last cart.

Halfway through Aithelar a large wagon loaded with logs comes out of a side street in front of Corthen’s wagon. Realizing it has stopped and the wagon drover is unhitching his team of horses, Corthen yells back to the others that they are getting boxed in. He pulls his bow and shoots dead one of the two wagon drovers but the other runs off with the horse team. Suddenly a hail of arrows rain down on the lead wagons trying to slay anyone or anything exposed.
Thazstar, the two oxen, and the lead drover are killed. Erith dives for cover under his wagon yelling to Corthen asking him what the plan is. The elf states the plan is to attack.

Samira and Ayremyr in the rear note that a wagon has blocked the path behind the group. Arrows fly from rooftops and some windows of upper floor buildings. Several party members are badly wounded by the archers. The party is completely surrounded and they are caught in a crossfire. An armored priest leads a band of armed thugs at the front of street in an attempt to swarm Erith and Corthen. The bard uses his wand of frost and an Ice Storm pummels the enemy slaying everyone but the priest. He tries to cast magic but Corthen braves the arrows and charges the spellcaster.

Samira keeps the enemy at bay at the back of the street. She casts a Wall of Fire that prevents anyone from crossing her flames. Rehs grows angry at all the archers. He is happy when Tellazar casts Sleep on several of the bowmen atop the roof a building above and one of the archers falls to the cobblestones to a bone-breaking death. Tellazar also stops another group of these thieves from running out to the carts and running off with any of the crates. He casts several deadly spells and the handful of bandits still alive on the street run away from the mage.

At this point, the tide has shifted towards the party. Corthen and Erith rush several of the buildings containing archers. Corthen kills four archers in one shop. Erith returns to the street later with two prisoners. Samira and Ayremyr kill several more of the bandits before the priest doffs a draught and flies off by magic. The duo assist Rehs in killing two fleeing archers and capturing one.

The heroes bind wounds and receive some healing from the Mystran priestess. The group is greeted by an armed group of soldiers arriving from the keep. The soldiers assist the party in moving the blocking wagon and deliver the swords to the keep.

Meanwhile in Waterdeep, a retired Uldred is approached by a mage named Flamsterd who states that his former companions are in danger and he offers to transport him to Aithelar from Waterdeep by magic. The dwarf grabs his armor and equipment and informs his friend, Felzoun, that he is leaving the city for an unknown period of time.

The dwarf returns to meet with the old mage. Flamsterd tells Uldred that he should end up near his companions. The wizard casts his magic, and Uldred is teleported from his residence to outside a warehouse facing a harbor with several ships docked along the quay. Uldred looks about for his friends but he does not see any of them. Suddenly burning arrows fly overhead and strike a handsome ship docked and unloading wares. A group of scurvy men rush out of an alley towards the ship. The ship’s crew quickly grabs arms and rushes onto the quay to clash with the attackers. Realizing that the ship is likely the vessel carrying his companions, the dwarf pulls his mace and charges forward.

The dwarf is surprised by the first blast of fire. The ship’s crew rushes into the blast zone and hacks and smashes at the scurvy men. Uldred smacks one of the humans with his mace and he screams in pain. Fire arrows continue to rain down on the wooden ship. Uldred sees the female Captain pull something from her necklace and hurl at the warehouse where the archers have perched upon the roof. The resulting Fireball ends the burning missiles being fired upon the ship. Her crew is winning the skirmish. Uldred ducks several attacks and swings his enchanted mace several more times felling another bandit. Several minutes later the scurvy bandits are fleeing with about half their numbers laying on the stone dock dying or dead. The majority of the vessel’s crew snaps to the orders shouted to them and they rush to the harbor to throw water onto their burning ship.

Uldred assists the dying and wounded crew of the ship. Having delivered the swords to keep, the Guardians are given mounts and the six heroes rush to the harbor to aid the Mermaid Sword. When they arrive at the ship the crew is putting out the worst of the fires, The vessel is badly damaged by fire arrows, but she does not sink.

Corthen makes contact with Captain Veldyrina. She is wounded as is many of her crew but only a few of her crew died in the assault and the fire. Samira sees Jessandra Blossom on the quay acting frantic. The Mystran priestess learns that her sisters were not so lucky; Zyla Blossom is missing and Erienne is dead. Samira learns that Erienne died in the fire and that Zyla jumped into the harbor to avoid the same fate. Corthen and Erith jump into the waters searching for the eldest sister. Only a floating shoe is found floating on the water; no other sign of the woman can be found.

Ayremyr’s consort, Jessandra, is unscathed. Samira learned that she is without coins or further transport, since the Mermaid Sword is so badly damaged. The girl relates that Zyla carried the family wealth since she was the eldest and she is now missing and possibly drowned. Samira urges Ayremyr to give comfort to his lover but he callously brushes her off. He finally breaks down to give her some coins for food after realizing that his friends are staring at him with distain. Ayremyr discovers that someone has taken his coins and replaced them with smooth river stones and brass tokens from a Calishite festhall. He tries to blame Jessandra, but his friends tell him that the frantic girl is too distraught over her sisters to have stolen his money right in front everyone. Corthen speaks to Captain Veldyrina and she tells him to return tomorrow afternoon to get his sea chests that are in the damaged ship’s hold. Samira approaches the Captain and hands her a valuable necklace worth several thousand pieces of gold. The Calishite adventurer tells the woman it is to help pay for repairs to the Mermaid Sword. Veldyrina hugs Samira and thanks her for her generosity.

The party brings Jessandra with them to Aithe Keep. Here the adventurers meet Lord Haembar ‘Hawkenhound’ Cauldyth, ruler of Cantrev Aithe. He gladly accepts the assistance of the Guardiaans of the Past. He explains that the Moonshae Isles are under attack by thieves, brigands, monsters, undead, and dark robed priests in the service of the Dark Druidess. The lord offers rooms at his keep for his guests and the heroes turn in for the night.

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3rd of Mirtul 1366 Year of the Staff

Corthen speaks to Captain Veldyrina. He convinces her to allow the party to question the seed collector. The group makes plans to question him while Samira uses spells to read some of his thoughts. During the interrogation Hessalo maintains his innocence. Corthen threatens Hessalo with bodily harm and tries to intimidate him. At one point, he angrily roars, “you won’t walk out of here walking!” The elf’s companions do their best to maintain their composure but Rehs and Tellazar are soon laughing despite the dark glares from the elven warrior.

With Samira’s probings of his mind she learns that his name is not Hessalo, but Thazstar, a wizard in the employment of the Dark Druidess. A more thorough search of his sea chest discovers seventeen uncut rubies but they are not unguarded. Ayremyr is attacked by a crawling claw hand which leaps at him and manages to choke him before Tellazar destroys the animated hand.

Thazstar tells the party they will be sorry for interfering with the Dark Druidess. Corthen scoffs at the prisoner and tells him he is not worried. The party informs the Captain that Thazstar was responsible for the ghoul attack the other night and is working against the High King. Veldyrina agrees to hold the mage prisoner and allow him to turned over to local lord once they dock in Aithelar.

The party debates what to do with their pirate treasure. Several members consider burying the wealth in a remote location before sailing to Aithe. The idea is discarded by a majority of the group who only wish to focus on transporting the swords safely and the matter is dropped.

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2nd of Mirtul 1366 Year of the Staff

Ayremyr goes to make sure Jessandra is all right after the lacedon attack from before dawn. She is unharmed and is happy that he is as well. He promises to spend time with her during the day. After dinner Erith shares that Zyla Blossom could not sleep the night before and that she thought she heard strange mumbling coming from one of the other cabins. Samira remarks that the only other passengers are Dyrrien, the Amnian merchant, and Hessalo, a collector of seeds.

Corthen suggests that Samira use her crystal ball to see if she can learn anything more about the two passengers. Uldred reminds Erith and Ayremyr that Hessalo was on the main deck about an hour before the sea ghoul attack. Corthen suggests they check out the rarely seen Hessalo. The group gathers in one of their cabins and Samira sets out her magic crystal ball. She focuses on the seed collector and watches him in his room lying in his bunk and putting some items in his trunk. The group makes plans for Rehs to slip into his cabin if he leaves it to look over his gear. The group finally comes up with a plan to slip to sneak an invisible thief into his room. While Corthen and Samira take watch on deck, Ayremyr knocks on Hessalo’s cabin door. Pretending to be intoxicated, he demands the unattractive seed collector let him see his beloved Jessandra. Hessalo tries to push the warrior away but Ayremyr slurs that he knows she is in his cabin. Hessalo finally relents and allows the annoying elf to see for himself that he is alone. With the door open wide enough, an invisible Rehs Wrenwinter slips into the cabin and puts himself in a corner while Hessalo escorts the elven warrior out.

Rehs watches as Hessalo paces the small chamber for several minutes before grabbing some items from his sea chest and leaving the room and locking the door. Rehs quietly moves over and inspects the chest. Finding no obvious signs of a trap he picks the lock and slowly lifts the lid. Suddenly, a severed hand leaps from inside the open box and grapples the scared thief. Grabbing his throat and neck, Rehs is lucky and manages to pull the undead claw off and he hacks it in half.

Rehs freaks out and tries to put the dead hand back into the box but he realizes that Hessalo will know someone has tampered with his chest when he returns to his cabin. The thief looks over the rest of the chest. He finds nothing interesting other than several changes of clothing, many seeds packed in damp cloth, and a box full of rich soil. Rehs does find a parchment in the lid that he takes before securing the chest and unlocking the door before using his picks and relocking it and slipping back to his cabin where the others await.

Rehs shows Tellazar the parchment. The mage reads it and tells the group it is a letter from the King of Snowdown identifying Hessalo as his personal agent seeking rare plants for his gardens. Finding nothing to incriminate him, the group is unsure what to do next. The party decides to have Samira scry the seed collector again to see how he reacts to finding his guardian hand destroyed. When the priestess of Mystra attempts to scry on the man she is unable to do so. Corthen knocks on Hessalo’s door but there is no answer. Rehs and Ayremyr scout out the main areas of the ship but cannot find Hessalo. The group decides to inform to the captain that one of her passengers has gone missing and that they suspect he was behind the sea ghoul attack.

Corthen speaks to Arenthor at the helm and informs he has something important to discuss with Captain Veldyrina. The brutish sailor silently nods and calls over a sailor to take the helm while he wakes the mistress of the Mermaid Sword. Minutes later Corthen and Tellazar are escorted into the Captain’s state room. Here the duo explains that their investigation of the undead attack the night before seems to link the Moonshavian seed harvester. They inform Captain Veldyrina that the man is now missing and even Samira cannot find him using magic. They ask permission to search the vessel for Hessalo and are granted it.

The party splits up and Rehs uses the powers of Muragh to see illusions and invisible items. A thorough search finds the man hiding in a storage hold below decks hidden by invisibility. Samira dispels magic upon Hessalo and Uldred and Ayremyr drag the man out before the Captain. Hessalo protests their holding him. He states he is an agent of the King of Snowdown and he tells the woman that the party broke into his room in an attempt to steal his valuable seeds and murder him. He states he hid when he learned of their intentions. The Captain states that she will sort matters out in the morning and Hessalo will be placed in his quarters under armed guard of her crew until then.

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1st of Mirtul 1366 Year of the Staff
Several uneventful days of sailing have gone by. The previous day was Greengrass a day of Celebration, ushering in the coming Spring. The crew and passengers observed a simple feast held by Captain. The party’s priests spent much of the day in meditation and reflection.

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The Mermaid Sword is nearing the island of Alaron according to Captain Veldyrina. She expects to enter the channel of South Great Head in the morning. In their down time, the ship’s crew shows the adventurers some very basic sailing skills and explains setting a sail and other nautical terms. After another evening dinner with the Captain, the party goes their separate ways with Corthen and Rehs setting up for the first night watch over the main hold’s hatch. Ayremyr sneaks off for a tryst with Jessandra Blossom. During the last watch, Jolen, one of the crew, goes to check the aft deck night fishing lines like every night. Erith, Uldred, and Ayremyr suddenly see the sailor fall back to the main deck with a loud thud. Arenthor, manning the helm, roars “Ho! To arms! We’re under attack!” Ayremyr and Uldred charge the aft deck while Erith rouses his sleeping companions. On the aft deck, a fierce battle is under way as Arenthor and six crew members fight off a contingent of sea ghouls!
The ship

The dwarf and the elf rush up the ladder to aid the ship’s crew. Erith awakens Rehs, Corthen, Samira, and Tellazar. Rehs grabs his bracers and blades and dashes out the door. Corthen and Tellazar grab weapons and equipment soon followed by Samira. By the time Corthen arrives on deck the ghouls have paralyzed Arenthor and two of the crew. The Guardians of the Past thrust their way forward in the bloody battle and engage the sea ghouls. Blades and spells destroy most of the sixteen sea lacedons before three of the undead retreat by rolling over the rails and plunge into the sea once again.

Two of the crew are dead from the ghouls, and another three, including Arenthor, are badly wounded. Corthen, Ayremyr and Erith are wounded as well and the priests tend to all of the wounded before saying a few words over the deceased. Corthen and Samira speak to Captain Veldyrina. She thanks the heroes for their aid and she offers them future free passage anywhere on the Sword Coast. Corthen asks her if the ship has ever been attacked by undead before. Veldyrina tells the adventurers that she has never been attacked by the dead before. She says that the only stories she has ever heard of involved ships in becalmed waters or those anchored over a shipwreck. Corthen tells her that he believes that the attack was somehow linked to the ship’s cargo and unknown enemies wishing to take the cargo.

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27th of Tarsakh 1366 Year of the Staff

Samira prays for healing on Ayremyr’s broken leg. Mystra grants her the power to repair the break and heal the other wounds of the party. Tellazar is busy poring over the items looted from the dead Calishite wizardress who led the pirates aboard the Ghost Ship. He focuses his attention on a small ivory carved chest that the mage carried around her neck. He learns the command word and large chest suddenly appears from thin air. The mage carefully opens the large ivory box and discovers the Calishite mage’s spellbooks, a number of spell scrolls, and a large number of healing draughts.

Corthen and Captain Veldyrina examine the pirate treasure confiscated from the dead cutthroats. The both come to the conclusion that the haul is valued above 130,000 pieces of gold. Corthen speaks to his companions and they agree to give Veldyrina the coins from the hoard. They will keep the art objects, gems, and other various items to sell at a later date.

Veldyrina gives her crew each a share of the treasure that she got from the party. An impromptu party breaks out as the crew celebrates and thanks the Captain. Food and drink are brought out onto the main deck. The crew of humans and half-elves begin singing and dancing and soon Erith joins in with his harp. Samira attempts to play her instrument, but once again she can only play an ancient funeral dirge. She proceeds to cast a Remove Curse upon herself, and then she is able play other music. Ayremyr begins flirting with Jessandra Blossom, the youngest sister of the three siblings aboard. He is soon dancing with her and having a good time.

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26th of Tarsakh 1366 Year of the Staff

Rough waters have Tellazar and Samira seasick again. Corthen speaks to Darrien Mollos and pays the merchant for his seasickness medicinal draught. It helps the two spellcasters and they improve within the hour. The party eats morningfeast with Arenthor. By midmorning the Mermaid Sword is sailing in smoother waters. The ship has left the coastal shipping lanes of the Sword Coast and making good weather traveling west to Alaron.

During the evening the heroes dine again with the captain in her quarters. She inquires a little about the party’s past which Corthen gives a brief history and a few exploits from adventuring in Undermountain. After dinner Captain Veldyrina and her dinner guests gather on the aft deck to watch the sun beginning to set on the horizon. Suddenly a lookout above cries out, “Sail!” Soon the dark, tattered sails of a single ship can be seen drawing nearer to the Mermaid Sword.

The ship’s crew all come up on deck as well as several of the passengers. Arenthor approaches Veldyrina at the helm and he stares hard at the tattered sails of the swiftly moving vessel. He asks, “Pirates?” One of the male crew halfway up the ropes speaks. “It looks like the Ghost Ship!” Arenthor snorts at the comment and looks to his captain at the helm. At her nod, he orders the crew break out weapons from storage and to rig the ship for battle. The passengers are directed to their quarters, but the Guardians of the Past remain near Veldyrina. Ayremyr slips over to one of the sailors and quietly asks what the Ghost Ship means. The woman looks at the elf and tells him the ship is a legendary vessel that sails without a crew. Stories say the crew was taken by sea monsters. She says it is an ill omen to see the cursed vessel. She then moves off to help set up one of the ship’s two ballistae.

As the ship’s crew scurries about a mist begins to rise from the black vessel moving rapidly towards Veldyrina’s ship. Soon the ship is lost in the growing fog bank. Everyone topside stares at the mist, several crew mutter near silent prayers and others listen for any sound from the mysterious ship, including Captain Veldyrina. Suddenly, she curses and moves the ship’s wheel so hard that the ship heels and rocks sharply. Out of the mist the large black galleon appears, the two ships scrape and come to a sudden stop. Veldyrina has saved her ship from being rammed by the larger ship.

No lights or sounds come from the black-sailed ship. Before Veldyrina orders her crew to try and free her ship from the other vessel, Corthen asks her if the party may board the Ghost Ship and check it out. She informs him that they may but they only have one hour before she leaves them to their fate if they do not return. The heroes climb a plank the Mermaid Sword crew provides them while they hold several grappling lines to hold the two ships together.

The Ghost Ship looks deserted. The sails are tattered with loose lines hang down. The deck is obscured by the enveloping fog and the party begins to search above decks before they climb below. As the party moves forward towards the bow a ghostly looking hand comes out of the fog and tries to touch Rehs, but he quickly dodges the semi-transparent extremity. Suddenly the air filled with the twang of crossbows and bolts fly out of the mist. Several members of the party are struck, but only Corthen collapses unmoving onto the deck. In a few more seconds, Rehs is attacked in the fog by several armed attackers. He tries to fight back, but he only manages to lose his broadsword in the melee and his blade strikes Ayremyr as he is moving forward. The elf warrior screams in pain as the sword breaks his tibia and he falls down clutching his right leg in agony.

Without either warrior in the fight, things look poor for the group. The four remaining members; Erith, Tellazar, Samira, and Rehs see a scurvy looking band of thugs advancing on them from the mist. They can also hear chanting coming from somewhere in front of the them. Tellazar casts a Fireball spell, Erith uses his wand to unleash an Icestorm, and Samira calls down lightning from the sky. Several of the pirates attack the heroes with blades and hit Erith, Rehs, and Samira. Chanting can still be heard in the mist, so Erith produces another pelting of ice and the hostile spellcaster is silenced. One the battle is over, Samira checks on Corthen and Ayremyr. Corthen is sleep poisoned by a crossbow bolt that struck him. The party helps carry Ayremyr back to the Mermaid Sword. She tells him that she will heal the break as soon as she can seek aid from Mystra.

The Captain informs the party that several pirates manages to sneak aboard the ship and several of her crew were killed or wounded. An awake Corthen asks permission to return to the ship to secure any valuables. Veldyrina agrees, but she informs him that she will look over the spoils and make sure it is safe to carry and that she and her crew receive a portion of the Ghost Ship’s valuables.

Below decks the party finds the pirates’ strongboxes. An immense hoard of gems, coins, art objects, and documents are found. The heroes bring Veldyrina on board to view the treasure. She agrees to allow the boxes to be placed on the Mermaid Sword for 5% of the hoard. Corthen reluctantly agrees to the deal since he cannot place the treasure on her ship without her permission. The captain notes that the black galleon is not very seaworthy. She states it is a danger to other ships at sea. Corthen and Rehs suggest burning the Ghost Ship to sink it. They set about liberally dowsing the vessel’s interior with fire oil. They toss a torch and flee the black ship. The Mermaid Sword sets sail away from the burning ship and her dead crew and they soon are gone beneath the dark waters.

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25th of Tarsakh 1366 Year of the Staff

The party has spent the past two days moving their stored magic items to the vaults of Mirt the Moneylender. The party also stores the new items taken from the deceased pirate, Captain Nybod.

At dawn the party walks to the docks to find the ship that will carry them to the Moonshae Isles. The heroes locate the two masted caravel in the light mist. Dockworkers are finishing loading cargo on board as the ship’s crew prepares lines and sails and assisting with storing of equipment.

The party is granted permission to board the ship. While Corthen goes to ensure the sword crates are aboard and accounted for the others have a look around the decks. Several paying passengers are on deck. A young redhead speaks with Tellazar. She introduces herself as Erienne Blossom. He learns she is traveling with her two sisters from a small village, Hardfrost, that lies East of Tethyr. Erith, Samira, and Rehs meet Erienne’s sisters, Jessandra and Zyla.

Corthen meets the ship’s Captain, Veldyrina Flaenitarr, a muscular blonde woman and her second, Arenthor. She informs the elven adventurer that his passage has been paid in full by his employer and that the cargo is already in the hold if he wishes to inspect it before setting sail. Corthen and Rehs follow Arenthor to the hold and count and inspect the sealed wooden crates. Each crate has a half-sun with a horizon line and rays burned into the wood.

Erith meets back with the group and informs the others that he has learned that the ship has five paying passengers, the Blossom sisters, a merchant, and a seed collector. The ship sets off from Waterdeep. Corthen tells the group that the hold is sealed and the party can keep guard above on the main deck in shifts of two. Samira notes that the main sail is the snarling wolf’s head with red eyes on a white field, the same symbol as the High King’s letter. Inquiries to the crew by the party informs them that the ship sails under the banner of the High King Tristan Kendrick of the Moonshae Isles.

As the ship moves out to sea the motion of the water makes Corthen, Samira, and Tellazar seasick. Each of them spend some time at the ship’s rails. On deck, Tellazar and Corthen meet Dyrrien Mollos, a fat Amnian merchant who is accompanying his wares of carved ivory, scents, and liquers. He gives the two seasick heroes each a draught that he claims will help with sickness. Corthen meets Zyla Blossom and her younger sister Jessandra. The two brunette sisters tell Corthen that they are traveling to Gwynneth to visit family with their sister Erienne.

The party has meanwhile stowed their gear in three aft cabins. A young female crew member knocks upon their doors and informs them the Captain has invited them to dine with her in her quarters. The group has a a fine dinner with Veldyrina, except for Tellazar. He picks at his food since his stomach is still rolling with the waves under the ship. The group sets up night watches on deck to guard the sixty crates of swords inside the ship’s sealed hold.

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23rd of Tarsakh 1366 Year of the Staff

Rehs, Samira, Tellazar, and Ayremyr had recovered most of their belongings left behind at Saedellas Nightstar’s house in the South Ward. A few of their items were smashed or broken in the collapse of the house.

Once back at Corthen’s manor house in the North Ward, they are greeted by Meria, the Amnian woman they had rescued from Gathgaer the Slaver. She had been living with Tellazar and the others at Nightstar House. She is happy to see the party and they to see her. The young woman informs the party that the house was indeed attacked by some large walking statue and a good number of ugly gargoyles. Meria tells the group that the creatures had tried to reach rooms that Tellazar kept the enchanted mirror as well as other items that he had the guards protect. Meria tells Tellazar that the guards tried to protect the house but were outmatched by the monsters that walked through a hole in the wall. She says several of the guards were killed before the creatures breached the mirror room. Finding it empty, the creatures moved around and suddenly the floor cracked and the whole house shook before the walking statue plunged through the floor. Meria and the few surviving guards fled the house before it collapsed onto the thrashing statue.

Meria states that she heard that another such attack occurred the next night at Erith’s home in the Castle Ward. She says that she heard that the City Watch along with allied wizards killed a few of the gargoyles and the monsters retreated through a big glowing circle which vanished. Samira asks Meria where she has been staying and the young woman tells them that she had found a kind woman named Madame Garah who had a rooming house near the Beer Golem Tavern. Samira asks Corthen if it would be ok for Meria to stay at his home until the party finds new accommodations. Corthen agrees to help her and she thanks him for his generosity.

In the evening, Corthen and Ayremyr travel to the Yawning Portal for a few glasses of wine and to see what they can hear about Undermountain. After his second glass of wine a short, fat, richly dressed merchant approaches Corthen and Ayremyr. “Your pardon, sirs,” he says in a quiet but determined voice. “Could your services be had for hire? I am Panthras, of Panthras Procuring, and I’d like to do business with you.” Corthen looks at the weather-beaten face of the man and sees no malice in his eyes. The elf asks, “Why are you approaching me? I’m just another diner enjoying a glass of wine.”

Panthras looks at the elves and states, “You are Corthen Nightglade, unless my eyes fail me. I recognize you from the Field of Triumph. I am looking for seasoned adventurers and I was told that you and your friends had expressed interest in work in the past. Might I speak to you and your companions about a guard mission?” Corthen nods and sends Ayremyr back to the house for the others. During Ayremyr’s absence Panthras pays Durnan’s wife for a private room in the back.

When the assembled party gathers at the Yawning Portal they enter the room to meet with Panthras. He introduces himself to the others and thanks them for coming to the meeting. He tells them that he needs seasoned guards with experience and who can command magic. Panthras informs the group that the pay is 3,000 gold coins to each member as well as four healing potions per person who accepts the mission. Panthras informs the group that he needs a party to guard a shipboard cargo safely to its destination.

Corthen asks where the cargo is going. Panthras informs him the Moonshae Isles. Samira asks the merchant what the cargo is. Panthras reluctantly informs her that it is sixty sealed crates containing swords. Corthen speaks and says that it is a lot of money to guard swords. Panthras looks at the group and says to hire experienced men and women to keep the cargo safe you pay high prices. Corthen tells Panthras that the party needs to discuss his offer before giving him an answer. The merchant steps out of the room. Corthen asks everyone their opinion. Samira wants to take the mission. Rehs, Ayremyr and Erith are intrigued by the offer but are not completely sure what they want to do. Tellazar is completely opposed. He states that he doesn’t wish to travel on a boat nor does he trust Panthras. The mage says he doesn’t even know where the swords are really going to or why. He states he is completely against the mission and has no plan of changing his mind.

Corthen brings Panthras back to the room. He asks Panthras who the swords are intended for. He informs the party that they are bound for the Lord of Cantrev Aithe, on the island Alaron in the Moonshaes. Tellazar tells Panthras that he wants no part in this job and that he has been too evasive and not laying out the details of the guard mission. The man looks at the young mage and simply says other details would be revealed if they accept the job, but since they have not, he is not at liberty to discuss the details, only to lay out the mission and find a band of heroes willing to accept such an assignment.

The group holds a vote on whether or not accept Pathras’s proposal. Only Tellazar votes no, the others vote yes to accept the mission. Tellazar looks at his friends and says, “I’m not going, he hasn’t convinced me that I should. I don’t trust him.” The weathered merchant walks over in front of Tellazar and looks hard at the wizard for a few seconds before he reaches up and pulls out a necklace from under his red tunic. He presses on the side of the amulet on the chain and the front pops open to reveal a silver harp and cresent moon pin inside, the symbol of the harpers.

Tellazar has a dumbfounded look on his face for several long seconds as he stares at Panthras’s harper pin. Finally, he speaks. “Well, I… uhh… I apologize. Why didn’t you just say so? I am good now, I accept the mission.” Panthras looks at Tellazar and simply states, “We don’t run around advertising our allegiances to everyone we just meet. We have enemies, and not all of them are completely stupid. Now, if we are ready to get down to business we can get to the contract.”

Panthras pulls out a parchment for the heroes to sign. He says it simply states that they are to deliver 1,200 swords to Lord Cauldyth of Aithe, or his successor in the lordship. He states it is a standard contract to keep guards honest and prevent them from selling the cargo elsewhere. After everyone has signed the document and he has paid them and given everyone their potions he again speaks. “There is more. Read this, please.” Panthras produces a portable hole and draws out a sealed parchment before slipping the hole back into his breast pocket. He adds, “I must warn you: once you’ve unsealed this document, I cannot allow you to withdraw from this mission and live; this is a matter of state security. Consider your actions carefully, then. Upon my honor, the document contains no alteration in your agreed task.”

The heroes look at each other for a minute and everyone slowly nods in agreement. Erith takes the paper from the harper and breaks open the red wax seal. He reads it aloud.
To those who accept the bond of Panthras and with the swordguard mission to Aithe:
My thanks and my debt. Dark days have come to the Moonshae Isles again, and we are in need of the strong and the valiant. Be it known that I personally shall award four thousand pieces of gold, above and beyond your pay, to each adventurer in your band who comes to Caer Callidyrr and asks for it, assuming the blades arrive safely in the hands of the Lord of Aithe. I will offer more, at that time, to those among you who will give us substantial aid against the foes that beset us in the Moonshaes – dark men skulking behind witless pawns who may try to seize that which you guard.
Bring this letter to me in Caer Callidyr, and accept the thanks, welcome, and hospitality of:
Tristan Kendrick
High King of the Ffolk

The excited group thanks Panthras and is given instructions of the ship that will carry them and the cargo and the day it is leaving. The group leaves the Yawning Portal and makes plans to pack for the upcoming voyage.

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