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:
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.