Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Nine from Neverwinter, part six

Cast of Characters:

  • Azun – A Moon Elf Archer hailing originally from Deepingdale, but fletching his arrows in Neverwinter for at least the past 30 years. He lead many of Neverwinter to safety during the Cataclysm of Mount Hotenow, and is regarded as a local folk hero.

  • Rungalor – A rough and tumble Barbarian Minotaur from parts unknown ...

  • Rollo Rutterkin – A Halfling Thief and long time companion of Rungalor.

  • Kirok – An Uthgardt Barbarian Shaman on a visionquest, serving as our guide.

  • Gizig – A Silver Dragonborn Warrior with official connections to Neverwinter's militia.

  • Hanzo – A Kozokuran Swordsman who journeyed to Neverwinter with Adrix of Highmoon.

  • Arcandius – A Thayvian Wizard who escaped his homeland with a mysterious tome of power.

  • Adrix – The Wandering Sage and Chronicler of this tale who brought this ragtag group of misfits together. He has traveled extensively as a Bardic Storyteller throughout The Realms, including The Unapproachable East, and is seeking to know more about The North.

  • The Storm Caller – A Calishite Gensia, powerful in the ways of Elemental Sorcery.

Chronicle of Adrix, 30th of Tarsakh, Year of the Ageless One; 447 North Reckoning

Impetuous fool!” I exclaimed.

That fool Minotaur was so preoccupied with his lost longsword, he wandered into what once was a smithy in search for a replacement – yet little did he heed the corpses on the floor of the smithy until they reached out at him with cold, clutching hands. There were six or so of the hungry dead rising to their feet as Rungalor slowly backed away towards the exit. But zombies are not they slow and mindless creatures that so many believe the to be. Well, mindless, perhaps, but they can lunge at near super human speed when they detect a fresh meal. Rungalor had his hands and hooves full, and none of us could get to his aid, due to his bulk blocking the doorway.

When finally the undead had pulled him down, Kirok leaped over his half-bovine mass, kicking a would be attack square in it's rotting chest and then driving his axe into it's putrid skull. Rollo ran forth and pushed two daggers into the eye sockets of one that was feasting on his longtime companion's living flesh. An eruption of spells flew from the party's magic using members and it was over. Rungalor, perhaps a little wiser after wounding, was sheepishly quiet for some time.

The windows were shuttered and the door was barred from the inside ...That was how we found the remaining Dragon Cultists. Not very bright fellows, so it seems, or perhaps they weren't expecting anyone to come looking for them. They surrendered very quickly after Azun put an arrow between their leader's eyes. Instead of putting the cultists to death, we set them free after learning they weren't willing to die for undead dragons. Most of them were bored farm boys and girls; misguided and harmless.

The last structure in the ruins that we came across was hardly in ruined state. There was overgrowth, to be sure, but the cabin was in good repair, and as the sun was setting and the wind was picking up, we noticed a light coming from the front window. Arcandius stepped forward and knocked at the door, after which a gruff voice told us to go away. Arcandius pleaded our case that we were wounded and tired and sought shelter from the growing storm. After some consideration, the Druid Riedoth, met and welcomed our party into his cabin (Though the Dragonborn warrior had to set up camp outside … few Druid's cabins can accommodate creatures of his over ten foot tall size …)

Riedoth served us bowls of warm ale and inquired why were in these parts. Arcandius, ever the mouthpiece for the party, explained to him of our quest to save the Dwarf Gunden from the clutches of the Goblins of Castle Cragmaw, but alas, our guide had been killed. He warned us of the Dragon Venomfang and the Dragon Cult that wooed him, but we explained to him that we had already dealt with both. He seemed amused by this, and offered to take us as far as Castle Cragmaw, but no further. (He also mentioned something about an Emerald Enclave, but I missed what he said as I was darning my wet socks at the time.) Arcandius agreed, and soon we were laying out bedrolls for a well deserved rest.

First of Mirtul, Year of the Ageless One; 447 North Reckoning

Keeping up with the Druid in the tremendous amount of snow that had fallen last night was strenuous. Riedoth tred the snow as if there was nothing but dew laden grass to hinder him. At times, he seemed to disappear from the trail, but Kirok and Rungalor insisted that he had mystically become a squirrel and was dining on pine cones as we trudged past him. He would reappear and take us of the trail, insisting that we needn't bother what laired beyond. At one point, Azun became distracted as he marched, looking off into the trees. I asked him what vexed him so, and he responded that we were being watched. Arcandius asked the Moon Elf, by whom?

Azun took his eyes from the deeper woods and responded, “Treants. Many of them.”

A set of vine covered monuments laid ahead, that of a Unicorn and an Elvish maiden. As we passed between them, a steep ledge overlooking Castle Cragmaw made itself known to us.Riedoth bade us safe journey and Tymora's Luck be with us; and with that he was gone and we were left to ponder our next move.

Azun spied arrow slits in the towers of the old castle, and he noted that some of the towers were collapsing under the weight of age. There was no cover to speak of, however the arrow slits were spaced so that they only could survey a portion of the landscape at a time. Arcandius had an idea.

Can you, Master Elf, see the Goblins behind those arrow slits?”

Perhaps, if I were closer,” Azun calmly responded.

Then closer you shall get and shoot the little bastards before they can reign down death upon the rest of us as we approach the castle walls.”

Azun nodded and set off for a sniper position.

On the Moon Elf's signal we began to run, as much as we could in the depths of such snow, downhill toward the castle. Azun fired and missed, alerting the Goblin archer to his presence. A blackened arrow soared past Azun's head and he returned fire, hitting his mark. We had, in short order, made it to the castle wall unscathed.

Azun moved to his next sniper position and promptly eliminated the archer, giving us a signal to move. This went on for each arrow slit. When he had eliminated them all, he rejoined the group and told us he thought he saw two Goblins in the first arrow slit, and it was likely that he might have warned troops within the castle. We would have to take our chances at this point, there was no turning back.